In February 2023, the Government announced that costs reforms were coming into force in April 2023. These changes will reverse the current cost protection which Claimants have in litigation for injury claims.
Currently, Claimants in injury claims have “QOCS” protection. This is short for “qualified one way costs shifting”. However, what does that mean? This means that if a Claimant loses their claim at Court, they will generally not be ordered to pay the Defendant’s costs or generally costs could be enforced upto an amount equivalent of aggregated Court orders for damages and interest in favour of the Claimant. This placed a cap on what could be recovered.
There have been cases decided by the Court which have held that Defendants could not off-set their costs against the Claimant (Ho v Adelekun and Cartwright v Venduct Engineering Ltd).
The proposed amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules will allow Defendants a right to enforce upto the level of any damages or costs recovered by Claimants.
The changes will affect all injury claims issued on or after 6th April 2023.
The result of these changes could affect after the event insurance policies and are like to increase premiums.
The purpose of QOCS was to allow Claimants to bring legitimate claims against Defendants, and was a compromise when success fees were no longer recoverable from Defendants. Many Claimant lawyers feel the changes are unfair to Claimants and are not in-keeping with the original purpose of QOCS.