'Big Bang' for Government Austerity Measures
Are you up to date on the recent changes to civil court procedures in England and Wales?
1 April 2013 saw a number of important changes to the provisions governing expert evidence in civil cases in England and Wales. Although they arise in various forms and in differing areas of procedure, they can generally be said to have their roots in the current efforts to achieve savings to the justice system, driven by both the Jackson Reforms and subsequent government austerity measures.
Many of the major changes arising from the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) also came into force on the same date. So LASPO will have an effect on an expert’s publicly funded work, but there will also be important ramifications from a number of other measures that came into effect at the same time. The areas of interest to expert witnesses are:
- The overriding objective
- Experts’ costs estimates
- Case management
- Costs budgets
- Proportionate costs recoverability
We look at the first two issues in this issue of the e-wire, and will address the remaining issues in subsequent issues of the e-wire.
Experts’ fees recoverable in the small claims track
Amid all the austerity there is one crumb of comfort provided to experts by a change to PD 27.7.3(2). It increases the amount that can be recovered in the small claims track for experts’ fees from £200 to £750 per expert. Anything that helps the parties recover their costs should have a positive knock-on effect for experts seeking payment!