7 February 2012
On 1 October 2011 the Costs Management Pilot (the “Pilot”) started in all Technology and Construction Courts (“TCC”) and Mercantile Courts. The Pilot applies to any case which has its first case management conference on or after 1 October 2011 and is scheduled to run until 30 September 2012.
The purpose of the Pilot, as stated by Lord Justice Jackson in the introduction to the questionnaires being distributed by the courts to those participating in the Pilot, is to ascertain:
- the benefits and disadvantages of costs management; and
- how the process might be improved for the benefit of court users.
The Pilot has potentially wide implications for costs management in the TCC and Mercantile Courts and has already been the subject of heated debate amongst practitioners regarding its potential advantages and disadvantages.
At the invitation of Lord Justice Jackson, the Centre of Construction Law at King’s College, London, was asked to monitor the Pilot. The monitoring team is headed by Nicholas Gould, who is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at King’s College London and a partner in Fenwick Elliott LLP. In monitoring the effectiveness of the Pilot he is being assisted by Claire King, an Associate of Fenwick Elliott LLP, by Christina Lockwood, a lawyer and CEDR accredited mediator and by Tom Hutchison, an Associate of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Dr Benjamin Styles of Imperial College, London a Chartered Statistician has assisted in analysing the results of the Pilot to date.2
This Interim Report sets out the results of this monitoring exercise for the first four months of the Pilot. Any conclusions are, by definition, interim only. The rate of completion for the questionnaires designed for the monitoring process, and distributed by the Courts, has been low to date and it is hoped that practitioners and judges alike will find more time to complete and return the questionnaires during the remainder of the Pilot.
Before setting out the interim results, we will first examine the Courts’ existing costs management powers and the background to the Pilot.