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The winning party in civil cases is generally entitled to an order for payment of his legal costs from the loser. In certain cases the amount of legal costs that can be recovered for various stages of the litigation, from pre-issue to the final hearing, is fixed.

The aim of fixing recoverable costs is to keep costs certain and proportionate and to promote access to justice. If a party knows at the outset what the costs consequences of losing are likely to be then the entire process becomes more certain. Fixed Recoverable Costs (“FRC”) have been with us for over a decade, having been first introduced in 2010 for road traffic accident cases of up to £10,000 in damages. Back in 2016 Sir Rupert Jackson recommended introducing FRC for all civil cases of up to £250,000 in damages, but in a 2017 report he recommended FRC regimes for civil cases of up to £100,000.

Following a consultation exercise, the Government has published a Response and is now implementing an extension of FRC by introducing a number of new measures, including:-

  • Extending FRC to all civil cases in the fast track up to a value of £25,000 in damages
  • Placing fast track cases into 1 of 4 bands of complexity, with an unsuccessful band challenge incurring a costs liability of £150
  • The FRC for each band being set out in advance
  • Imposing a penalty for unreasonable behaviour during litigation of a 50% uplift on FRC

The Response also says that the fast track (currently for cases worth £10,000 to £25,000) will be expanded to include simpler ‘intermediate’ cases valued between £25,000 to £100,000 in damages.

The full Government Response can be viewed here.


To discuss any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact our Dispute Resolution team by email at or by calling us on 01484 821 500.