Duncan Lewis

Romford Office

Crime and Civil cases

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High court rejects judicial review by APIL and Mass on cuts in RTA portal fees

Date: (4 March 2013)    |    

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The High Court has rejected a judicial review by APIL and MASS challenging massive cuts in RTA portal fees which is coming into force at the end of April.
The claims were made by the two lawyers organisations have been arguing that the cuts were unlawful on the grounds of lack of consultation.
Lord Justice Elias and Mr Justice Cranston ruled that the government had not acted unlawfully.
The Law Society, which had intervened in the case, expressed regret at the outcome. The chief executive Des Hudson said that the Society was deeply unhappy with the new recoverable costs rules and the process by which the government made its decision. He also conceded that the government’s decision however unfair was going to be difficult to challenge.
But he said that they would continue to impress upon the government the need to ensure that those injured through no fault of their own need to be able to seek redress, without putting themselves in severe financial difficulties.
But the insurance lawyers welcomed the ruling and Rod Evans, president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) saying that it would end the pause which had gripped the industry.
He added that though there could be an appeal against the decision but at least there was clarity on the reforms and its applicability in view of the interests involved of the clients on all sides as Lord Jackson had envisaged.
Justice secretary Chris Grayling confirmed the worst fears of claimant personal injury lawyers early last week by announcing that RTA portal fees would be cut from £1,200 to £500 “from the end of April”.

The fee for handling claims worth £10,000 to £25,000 which are to enter the portal from the end of July was fixed at £800.

For employers’ and public liability cases, which will be entering the portal at the same time, the fees will be set at £900 for cases worth up to £10,000 and £1,600 for cases worth up to £25,000.

Grayling said that in “exceptional circumstances”, where cases were in the £10,001 to £25,000 bracket, the cost of a barrister or specialist solicitor’s advice on quantum should be recovered as a disbursement, in the same way as experts’ reports.

The existing rules would continue to apply to claims arising out of employer’s liability disease cases which fell outside the protocol he added.

Justice minister Helen Grant had previously suggested that mesothelioma claims should be handled by a portal.

Grayling said the new fixed costs would be implemented with the extension to the portal at the end of July.