Further to my written ministerial statement on
Our consultation paper sought views on the Government's interim proposal to reduce the maximum CFA success fee in defamation cases while we consider Sir Rupert Jackson's substantial report, "Review of Civil Litigation Costs", published on
As the consultation paper recognised, high legal costs in defamation cases-particularly in defending claims brought under a CFA with 100 per cent. success fees-may have a harmful effect on freedom of expression. This affects not only the media, but also scientific and academic debate.
The consultation closed on
Since that consultation closed, the Culture Media and Sport Committee has published the report of their inquiry into press freedom, libel and privacy (on
The Government are actively assessing the implications of Sir Rupert's recommendations, and will announce how they are to be taken forward in due course. The Government are also considering the Committee's report and will respond to the Committee's recommendations shortly. However, in the meantime we are minded to implement the proposal to reduce the maximum CFA success fee in defamation cases to 10 per cent. immediately as an interim measure so that the specific concerns around high costs in defamation cases can be addressed urgently.
I have therefore today laid the Conditional Fee Agreements (Amendment) Order 2010 before Parliament so that the success fee reduction can come into force as soon as possible subject to parliamentary approval. The order will apply to CFAs in respect of defamation cases entered into after the date on which the order comes into force.
Copies of the response paper will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and on the Department's website at: www.justice.gov.uk.