We have our auditors in today.
How do they do it? I have to stomach one day of going through figures and cross referencing against files and documents. It is so boring! I have a headache and they have only been here 3 hours.
What’s more, the tests stay the same every year just on different matters. They check our procedures which haven’t altered so why bother? Seems daft to me.
Which brings me neatly on to Lord Justice Jackson and the changes which are afoot for civil litigation.
As reported in the Gazette, Lord Jackson has recently helpfully clarified what he had intended with regard to Part 36 offers – as there has been some confusion. Well, he said it was business as usual i.e. just the same as the rules now. So…. basically, a defendant insurer can make a Part 36 offer on quantum or liability at any time and, if the claimant fails to beat it then the claimant has to pay the defendant’s costs from the point the offer was made right up until trial.
Now it doesn’t take a great deal of intelligence to work out that this little arrangement gives the defendants a simple get out clause from the Qualified One Way Costs Shifting (QWCS) proposed by Lord Jackson – a scheme which he maintains means claimants don’t need After the Event Insurance any more. So here’s a question – what happens if a defendant insurer makes an early offer on each and every case against them? Doesn’t this mean that all of the claimants will then face a (significant) costs risk? Now I am all for this (after all we sell ATE Insurance so want a reason for people to buy our products) but doesn’t the Part 36 rule simply make QWCS redundant? Aren’t we going to end up with claimants still facing costs risks in full but instead of being able to recover an After the Event insurance policy, they must instead pay for it themselves?
If the defendant insurance industry were to play a game of poker they would clean up. How on earth did they manage that one?
Right – I have been asked to run another report so must go back to watching paint dry.