The Civil Justice Council (CJC) are the latest to criticise the government’s proposals to slash costs for the RTA Portal work to £500. The CJC have described it as “unrealistic” and are urging the government to wait until next year before setting new fixed recoverable costs.
The CJCs response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on the proposals pulled no punches when it came to criticising the government’s plans.
The CJC said: “The Civil Justice Council is conscious that the solicitors must comply with a number of regulatory guidelines when opening a file, and that it may be regarded as unrealistic to expect all the necessary work and negotiations to be carried out against a fixed fee limited to £500.”
However the Civil Justice Council did welcome the Lord Chancellor’s decision to postpone the implementation date of the extended portal, insisting that a delayed and cautious approach was the way forward in its implementation.
The CJC said: “Given the nature and extent of the various Civil Justice Reforms, which have been and are in the process of being implemented, a full-scale revision of the figures should perhaps best take place when the reforms have had time to work. In that way a proper revision to the figures can take place in, for instance, 2014 which could be based on evidence derived from, and a properly researched impact assessment of, costs from actual work done under the reformed regime.”
They also responded to the implementation of the referral fee ban saying that there was potential for costs to be reduced as a result of the ban but underlined that just because referral fees will be removed it did not necessarily mean that a solicitor’s marketing costs will automatically be reduced and that in order for firms to maintain their profile within the marketing place they will have to increase their marketing costs which should be taken into account when considering the sums recoverable for a case.