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Controlling Claimants Costs In response to its consultation on Solving Disputes in the County Court, the Government committed to extend the current Road Traffic Accident (RTA) Personal Injury scheme vertically, by including claims up to a value of £25,000.00, and horizontally, by including Employers Liability (EL) and Public Liability (PL) claims up to a value of £25,000.00 (on a full liability basis including pecuniary losses but excluding interest). Sarah Page-Croft Law Costs Draftsman F ocusing on the new portal, this will be implemented from the 31st July 2013. It will be accompanied by a separate and slightly more generous Fixed Recoverable Costs regime (FRC) for cases falling out of the portal. The Government wants to ensure that costs outside the portal are controlled as efficiently as costs within. Where a claim arises from an EL or PL accident which occurred on or after the end of July 2013, the claim will proceed through the new portal. Disease claims are slightly different in that these claims will proceed through the portal if notification of a claim is given on or after the end of July 2013. WHEN THE PORTAL DOES NOT APPLY For the time being, EL Disease claims which fall out of the portal will not be subject to FRC, the old costs regime should be followed. EL Disease claims which remain within the portal system, where liability is admitted, will be subject to the fixed portal costs. The portal does not apply to claims where, if proceedings were issued, the small claims track would be the normal track. However, in circumstances where the Claimant believed that the claim was worth over £1,000.00 but then subsequently it transpires that the value of the claim is less than £1,000.00, the Claimant is entitled to Stage 1 fixed portal costs and, if relevant, Stage 2 fixed portal costs. The portal will cease to apply if the Claimant notifies the Defendant that the claim has been re-valued at greater than £25,000.00. Claims which no longer continue under the portal cannot subsequently re-enter the process. Given that disease claims which fall out of the portal go into standard costs, the definition of disease will be important going forward. It is important to ensure that claims are not run outside the portal on the grounds that they are disease claims only to settle and be awarded portal costs on the grounds that the claim was not, after all, a disease claim. Disease means: “a disease that the claimant is alleged to have contracted as a consequence of the employer’s breach of statutory or common law duties of care in the course of the employee’s employment, other than a physical or psychological injury caused by an accident or other single event” 4 The portal does not apply to claims where the Claimant or Defendant acts as personal representative of a deceased person, or where the Claimant or Defendant is a protected party. The portal does not apply in PL claims where the Defendant is an individual; where the Claimant is bankrupt or where the Defendant is bankrupt and there is no identifiable insurer. The portal does not apply in disease claims with more than one Defendant; for a personal injury arising from an accident which occurred outside England and Wales; for damages in relation to harm, abuse or neglect of or by children or vulnerable adults. The portal does not apply to claims for clinical negligence or mesothelioma. As can be seen from the above tables (click the image to download), FRC are more generous than fixed portal costs. It is therefore important to be aware of when/ how claims fall out of the portal and into FRC.