So it is finally here. Independence Day has arrived and tomorrow it will be possible to look out of your window upon a Green and Pleasant Land, freed from the yoke of European vassalage and about to embrace its new destiny as a Great Power again. It is remarkable how quickly since the election last month where Mr Johnson won his decisive majority that the steam has gone out of the issue. No more marches. No more petitions. No more calls for a second referendum.
Instead whether this course of action proves to be good, bad or indifferent, it has moved from the realms of political theory into becoming political fact. It may be that the economy, at least in the short term goes down the toilet, but if you value sovereignty and accountability more than jobs, money and prosperity, Brexit is a rational position to adopt.
Perhaps more prosaically and more relevantly for the purposes of this blog, there remains no ideological impediment now to the further continuing reform of the personal injury market and the extension of fixed costs to many other areas of litigation. The government with its majority can simply push matters forward as it sees fit, in a way unknown since the days of Mr Blair. The only matter that might cause delay is a crowded legislative timetable, or the diversion of government resources and attention to more pressing matters.
Of these, curiously enough the most important will be the continuing need to legislate for Brexit. Not only will Brexit not “be done” tonight, in any real sense of the phrase, due to the continuing transition period, followed by the move to a new trading relationship, there will still be a need for hours and hours of parliamentary time, to make and unmake laws, occasioned by the necessity to do so, arising from the abolition of the supremacy of European Union law.
I have agreed to speak at the Ropewalk Chambers Personal Injury Conference on 6th March 2020, which will take place in Nottingham. In the presentation I shall be looking at some of the challenges ahead for the personal injury market, and also considering some of the wider trends in costs over the last year.
There are a number of hot topics: wasted costs orders against personal injury solicitors, who discontinue claims at the last minute. Applications for non party costs orders against ATE insurers. Continuing issues with QOCS and set off of costs. Ongoing problems with solicitor-own client charges for success fees, and applications under section 70 of the Solicitors Act 1974 for assessments of them.
I understand that bookings will shortly open for the conference.
I hope to see some of you there.