CJC report on defamation costs published

Report makes recommendations for costs protection in future defamation and privacy proceedings following changes to the CFA regime. Desmond Browne QC and Chloe Strong form part of the Working Group.

The Working Group put together by the Civil Justice Council (CJC) to look into costs protection options in defamation and related proceedings published its final report yesterday. The report sets out a number of recommendations for controlling costs in defamation and privacy proceedings, including enhanced judicial intervention, and the introduction of a protective costs mechanism similar to the Qualified One Way Costs system (commonly known as QOCS) currently in place in personal injury litigation.

The Working Group, which included defamation and costs specialists from a range of interests, was set up in response to a request by Justice Minister Lord McNally to explore the issue ahead of the measures in the Defamation Bill coming into effect.

At present many defamation and privacy cases are brought under Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs or as they are sometimes known, no-win, no-fee agreements). This system was reformed in April 2013 for most claims. However, the Government delayed implementation of those changes for publication and privacy cases in the light of the Leveson report. The CJC was asked to set up a Working Group to assess what form of costs protection regime should apply in an area of law acknowledged to be complex and distinct, and also to see whether forms of costs protection would help parties secure effective access to justice.

The CJC Working Group included two members of Chambers, Desmond Browne QC and Chloe Strong.

Click here for further information on the Working Group’s brief, the CJC news release, and illustrations which accompany the final report.