The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in February, 2009

Good news for costs draftsmen and costs consultants

By on Feb 27, 2009 | 1 comment

In a previous posting I reported some good news for personal injury lawyers and, in due course, law costs draftsmen and other costs professionals in the announcement that clinical negligence claims were predicted to increase. Similar good news comes in a survey conducted by legal recruiters ASA, carried out among law firms. Only 18% expected the economic downturn to adversely affect them, with 46% expecting work to increase. One partner was reported as commenting: “people are always more likely to claim when money is tight”. Further, in the current edition of Litigation Funding, Peter Smith, managing director of ATE insurer FirstAssist, was quoted as reporting a 40% increase in the past few months in the number of professional negligence cases it had funded. He stated: “Everything suggests that if you are unhappy with work that’s been done, then you might fight harder trying to obtain recompense during the credit crunch”. In the next 12-24 months, costs draftsmen and costs consultants can expect to see an upturn in work. So long as contingency fees haven’t been introduced...

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Proposed court fee increases

By on Feb 24, 2009 | 1 comment

The Ministry of Justice has issued a consultation paper, Civil Court Fees 2008, on proposed increases in certain court fees (closing date 4/3/09). The most eye watering increase is the fee for filing a request for a detailed assessment hearing by a legally aided party where no other party is ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. The proposed increase is from the current £105 up to a new figure of up to £5,000. Click image to enlarge:  ...

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Criticism of the current costs system

By on Feb 23, 2009 | 0 comments

Arnold J recently delivered some stinging criticism of the current approach to controlling legal costs. In the case of Research in Motion UK Ltd v Visto Corporation [2008] EWHC 3026 (Pat) he stated: “the traditional approach to costs control of litigation in this country, which is after the event by way of an assessment of costs which limits the amount that can be recovered by the receiving party from the paying party, is inadequate and unsatisfactory. If we are to move to a system which better controls litigation costs, restricting ourselves to after the event remedies is unlikely to have the desired effect. A more proactive before the event approach is required.” The recent rule change relating to costs capping orders is all the more surprising in light of this type of comment. I will be dealing with this change in more detail in a future...

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The perfect legal website

By on Feb 23, 2009 | 0 comments

Designing a website for a legal firm is a difficult business. Some end up being a triumph of appearance over substance, with flashy visuals but no content of any interest. On the other hand, great informative content can be wasted with poor presentation. Another weakness with some firms’ websites is that they can often be no more than a web based version of the firm’s brochure. However, after much searching, I can now reveal the winner of The Legal Costs Blog’s annual Best Solicitors’ Website Award: The Winner (links to external site). Actually, the firm does have another website: Site two. But I definitely prefer the first. A bottle of champagne to anyone who can find a site that tops this year’s winner (law firm sites...

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Costs Estimates

By on Feb 17, 2009 | 0 comments

I was a recent speaker at the CLT Annual Solicitors Costs Conference. The other speakers included two highly respected Regional Costs Judges, Ian Besford and Chris Lethem (not that I’m suggesting other RCJs aren’t equally respected). One of the issues that came up was costs estimates. Both judges commented on how they never see paying parties challenge the reasonableness of cost claims where there has been an inaccurate costs estimate filed by the receiving party. They obviously haven’t seen any of my Points of Dispute. Our existing clients will know that we always raise the issue of inaccurate estimates where this is a relevant factor. Those who have attended our in-house training sessions will also be familiar with the importance we place on costs estimates as part of the claims process. For those claimant representatives that haven’t bothered to read the Costs Practice Direction (CPD) in recent years, it is not necessary for the paying party to show that they relied on an inaccurate estimate before the Court can take this into account. CPD 6.6(2)(b) makes clear that the Court can have regard to the difference where “the receiving party has not provided a satisfactory explanation for that difference or [emphasis added] the paying party reasonably relied on the estimate of costs”. The crucial word is “or”, not “and”. A failure to provide a satisfactory explanation is sufficient for this section to...

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