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Time to revisit the Jackson exemptions

Exemptions from costs budgeting rules based not on the nature of the claim but on its value are a sensible compromise, says Sue Nash

19 March 2014

The debate about where to cap the exemption to cost budgeting has caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth but a potential compromise suggested by Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Dyson - that the current exemptions are replaced by an exemption for all claims over £10m across all courts - might just hit the spot for now.

When the majority of the Jackson reforms were implemented in April 2013, cases in the Commercial Court and Admiralty Division were exempt from mandatory costs budgeting. This was in line with the original Jackson report when he accepted that the time was not right for mandatory costs budgeting in the commercial courts. This was followed by an exemption for all commercial cases with a value of over £2m, as a measure to avoid forum shopping.

These exemptions have, in my opinion, never sat with the principle of costs control espoused by the judiciary and adopted by the government. The anomaly whereby high-value clinical negligence and...

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