Final costs judgment given by UKSC in Coventry v Lawrence

July 22, 2015

The long-awaited judgment from the Supreme Court on the lawfulness of CFA and ATE funding arrangements was handed down today.  Stephen Hockman QC and William Upton were joined by Timothy Dutton QC and Ben Williams in representing the appellants on this important point for the funding of civil litigation.

In what will be a massive relief to all those still involved in these type of cases, the court has held, 5 to 2, that the scheme under the Access to Justice Act 1999 as a whole is lawful.  It was a rational and coherent scheme for providing access to justice.  In the circumstances, it was not incompatible with article 6 or A1P1 of the European Convention of Human Rights.  The Court gave considerable weight to the fact that these were informed legislative choices made in circumstances where the state authorities are seeking to reconcile the competing interests of different groups in society, and that a regulatory scheme may be compatible with the Convention even if it operates harshly in individual cases.  There is no perfect solution to the problem of how best to enhance access to justice following the withdrawal of legal aid for most civil cases.

To view the Judgment in Coventry v Lawrence [2015] UKSC 50  click here

To view the UKSC Press Summary click here