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Ministry of Justice Announces Limitation to Success Fees in Defamation Cases

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Further to my recent article on this topic the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has announced the expected limitation of success fees in defamation cases.

Further to my recent article on this topic the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has announced the expected limitation of success fees in defamation cases.

The Ministry of Justice's response to the consultation can be found by clicking on the following link:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/docs/response-conditional-fees-consultation.pdf

The changes will come in to play in April this year which demonstrates the importance of the limitation to the MOJ.  Success fees will carry a limitation of 10% which is a drastic reduction from the current 100% which can be charged.

The limitation will only apply to Conditional Fee Agreements entered into with a client after the date on which the limitation comes into force.

The news will be of great relief to journalists and writers who have long complained that high success fees make legal costs disproportionate and restrict freedom of speech.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw, said:

"Reducing the success fee charged by lawyers in no-win, no-fee defamation cases will help level the playing field so that scientists, journalists and writers can continue to publish articles which are in the public interest without incurring such disproportionate legal bills.  This is particularly important for ensuring open scientific exchange and protecting the future of our regional media, who have small budgets but play a large role in our democracy".

The limitation will no doubt spark much criticism by claimant lawyers, whose profit margins in such cases will be reduced significantly.  However, the announcement was expected by all given the recommended reduction to success fees contained in Lord Justice Jackson's recent review of civil litigation costs.

If you would like further information about any of the matters raised in this article then please contact Andrew McAulay (a.mcaulay@clarionsolicitors.com) of our Costs and Litigation Funding Department.

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