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The new provisional assessment scheme isn't providing justice

The new provisional assessment scheme for claims for costs of £75,000 or less abandons even ?the pretence that justice is being done, ?says Simon Gibbs

23 May 2013

The Ministry of Justice has recently announced that, in an effort to control excessive legal costs, trials will be dispensed with in relation to civil disputes where the amount at stake is £75,000 or less. In addition, witness statements and expert evidence will not be allowed. A Ministry of Justice spokesman explained: "Experienced judges do not need to consider any evidence to decide on the merits of a claim and are more than capable of reaching a decision based on the pleadings alone."

Naturally, I am joking and you can imagine the uproar there would be if any such proposal was put forward.

Nevertheless, this is precisely what is happening in relation to the new provisional assessment scheme for claims for costs of £75,000 or less. The assessment is undertaken without any hearing and the papers to be lodged in support are not much more than the costs pleadings and the fee notes (although sloppy drafting has left some ambiguity as to what needs to be filed with the court).

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