The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, has reiterated his concerns about the high costs of litigation, including the impact of the Government's proposed new structure of court fees, which could damage London's position in the international legal market. This is also in light of increasing competition from other jurisdictions such as Singapore, the Netherlands and Germany.
Lord Thomas said that great care should be taken not to upset a business that is very important to the economy of the country, for what are relatively small sums of money.
He also commented the charging regime 'ignores the basic fact' that a court case which settles a point of law is for the benefit of the public and therefore individual litigants should not be expected to pay the whole bill.
The market created by the 2007 Legal Services Act should undergo an independent examination to assess whether the reforms are working, the Lord Chief Justice said today – strongly suggesting that the answer is that they are not. The next government, he said, will 'have to look very carefully' at the regulation of services, including the relationship between the Legal Services Board and the regulators. Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd (pictured) was appearing before the House of Commons Justice Committee to answer questions on his annual report. While he has seen a 'massive expansion' in the population of lawyers during this career 'what hasn't happened is prices coming down'. This raises the question of whether the market created by the act is operating correctly. 'Is the profession's structure and fee structuring working to produce legal services in a way that people can afford?'