Costs Protection in Defamation and Privacy Claims Consultation

September 22, 2013

The government has announced a consultation on costs protection in defamation and privacy claims.  Following the publication of Lord Justice Leveson’s Report in November 2012, the government accepted his recommendation, endorsing that of Lord Justice Jackson, that costs protection should be extended to defamation and privacy claims. Costs protection protects parties from the costs that they might have to pay to the other side in civil litigation. It was introduced in April 2013 for personal injury cases when the government amended the way in which no win no fee agreements operate. Those changes, contained in Part 2 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012, were delayed for defamation and privacy cases as a result of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendation until a costs protection regime has been introduced.

The proposals in the consultation are designed to help people and organisations of modest means to be able to bring and defend defamation and privacy claims without the fear of having to pay unaffordable legal costs to the other side if they lose. The consultation also proposes that those of substantial means (whether individuals or organisations, such as national newspapers) would be excluded from the costs protection regime, while those of less modest means might have to pay something towards the legal costs of the other side if they lose.
The consultation ends on 8 November. The government aims to introduce the new costs protection regime in April 2014, at the same time as implementing the relevant provisions in Part 2 of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 for defamation and privacy cases.