An article published yesterday in the Solicitors Journal is headed Jackson LJ demands his reforms are implemented in full. It draws attention to a letter from Lord Justice Jackson, the author of last year’s Litigation Costs Review, to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke calling on him to ensure that the costs reforms are put through in full.
The letter itself is published on the judicial website. You get the flavour of Sir Rupert Jackson’s approach from this paragraph:
….. the complexity of civil procedure is now a real problem and generates substantial costs. The new rules must be simple and clear. Any attempt to legislate for every situation is a chimaera, resulting in complexity and escalating costs.
Those who read my article of last week headed Judges defend our long-term liberties from short-term politicians will spot more than one connection here. One concerns the willingness of judges to take on politicians publicly where the interests of justice require it – there are in fact two points in one here, since the publication of Sir Rupert’s letter is a step distinct from the confrontation implicit in the letter itself; the other is the reference to “any attempt to legislate for every situation” which parallels one of Lord Judge’s complaints, reported on in my article and illustrated by his media-friendly reference to the possible variants of a particularly esoteric crime.
It is not clear, in fact, that Jackson and Clarke take different views – Clarke has been supportive, publicly at least. There are certainly powerful interests with good reason to fear the implementation of the proposed costs reforms, and civil servants are skilled in that delicate balancing act which always finds reasons for blocking change whilst creating enough work to keep them in employment.
It is good to see Lord Justice Jackson fighting his corner where a lesser man might have subsided gratefully back into his place in the Court of Appeal.