What are Fixed Recoverable Costs?
Fixed Recoverable Costs relate to the set amount that can be recovered by the successful party from the unsuccessful party in civil litigation. Fixed Recoverable Costs are dependent upon the different stages of litigation and not the amount of work that a party has carried out in the case.
On 1 October 2023, Fixed Recoverable Costs were introduced in cases where the damages are valued at between £25,000 and £100,000. In cases valued at over £100,000, Fixed Recoverable Costs do not apply.
On 4 April 2024, Fixed Recoverable Costs are scheduled to come into force in relation to clinical negligence claims between £1,500 and £25,000. However, both schemes are still under consultation.
1 October 2023 Scheme (damages between £25,000 and £100,000)
This scheme only relates to clinical negligence cases where the cause of action occurred on or after 1 October 2023, and where liability and causation have been admitted.
The October 2023 scheme limits trials to no more than 3 days, and each party are only allowed two expert witnesses at trial. This means that, although the party may have more than two expert witnesses, if only two are required at trial, then the case will fall within Fixed Recoverable Costs.
Where a case is to be issued at Court, a new style Directions Questionnaire will need to be completed which will ask the band of complexity that the case falls into. The current rules assume that the band classification can be agreed between the parties.
Cases falling within this scheme will be awarded no costs for the use of Counsel pre-issue, and there will be no costs recovered for involvement in an inquest.
This scheme does not apply to protected parties.
4 April 2024 Scheme (damages between £1,500 and £25,000)
This scheme only relates to pre-issue costs in cases of clinical negligence, and where a Letter of Notification or Letter of Claim has not been sent prior to its introduction.
The Scheme allows for the recovery of reasonable expert fees and After the Event Insurance but prevents the recovery of all other disbursements, including medical record collation.
It is advised that the Claimant states the appropriate complexity band within their Letter of Claim. The Letter of Claim is expected to be sent with expert evidence, a schedule of loss and offer of settlement.
The April 2024 Scheme proposes two tracks. The light track will be used where liability is admitted and the standard track where it is not.
Fixed Recoverable Costs aim to set the amount that can be claimed by the successful party in a civil action based upon the level of damages awarded and the stage at which the case is settled. Fixed Recoverable Costs are still under consultation, even for the Scheme introduced in October 2023.
Article written by Paralegal Kirsten Walker