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2019 Legal Futures Civil Litigation Conference – what were the hot topics for litigators?

Funding, capped costs, court modernisation, robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) were on delegates’ minds in a very busy day at the conference. Below is a summary of the numerous discussions we had at the conference.

The focus on funding of all kinds

The strongest level of interest and feedback was regarding funding – which includes litigation insurance (aka ATE insurance), disbursement funding and fee funding. This is a big driver for those law firms who wish to progress cases quicker and push forward those cases which might not otherwise be pursued. Information about Temple’s litigation insurance and funding products was therefore in demand.

Capped costs

The capped costs voluntary pilot for commercial cases in London, Leeds and Manchester was discussed; costs in the pilot are capped at a maximum of £80,000 for claims worth up to £250,000. Panellists at the conference thought that some of the benefits of costs capping might be greater opportunity for junior staff to run cases, lower fees for litigants to pay and potentially increased numbers of cases for litigators. It was agreed by two panellists that fixed costs, if introduced, must be at a sensible level.

Court modernisation

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has delayed completion of its court modernisation programme by a year to 2023, and delegates have found the closing of local courts troublesome and inconvenient. There have been some limited benefits of the reforms though, such as a civil money claims service launched in March 2018, and further change is expected.

Robots and Artificial Intelligence

There was widespread scepticism expressed by delegates over the use of robots and artificial intelligence. The general view was that human input would remain very necessary in litigation, even if

AI was found to be helpful for some tasks. However, there will always be some inherent unpredictability such as the behaviour of opponents and what witnesses might say at trial.

If you have a view on any of the above topics that you would like to discuss with us, please contact David Chase, our Deputy Underwriting Manager in the Commercial team via email to david.chase@temple-legal.co.uk or call 01483 577877. We look forward to hearing from you.

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