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Trials: Legal Costs

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 120264, tabled on 19 December 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of damages based agreements and conditional fee agreements on the number of fraudulent and unmeritorious claims pursued.

Answered on

8 January 2018

Substantial reforms have been made over recent years to control the costs of civil litigation, and to deter fraudulent and unmeritorious claims. In particular, the operation of ‘no win no fee’ conditional fee agreements (CFAs) has been improved by Part 2 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012. The Part 2 reforms, which came into effect in April 2013, also allowed Damages-Based Agreements (DBAs) to be used in civil litigation for the first time.

CFAs and DBAs facilitate access to justice by enabling claims to be brought by those of modest means. The Government recognises that access to justice has to be meaningful for defendants too: the Part 2 and other reforms help to ensure that claims are resolved at more proportionate cost, with the risk of litigation now being borne by claimants rather than defendants, who no longer having to pay inflated legal costs.

The Government is committed to carrying out a post-implementation review of Part 2 of the LASPO Act, to be completed by summer recess 2018.

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