The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in April, 2009

Retirement of Tony Girling

By on Apr 27, 2009 | 0 comments

The majority of those in the costs industry will be more than familiar with Tony Girling, at least by reputation. Tony is former President of the Law Society, sat for many years as a High Court Costs Assessor and was a founder member of the Supreme Court Costs Office Practitioners Group. He is current probably best known for his regular costs conferences through CLT and for his unrivalled knowledge of developments in the field of legal costs. He has been a giant in a costs world of pygmies. It is therefore with no small element of regret to report his retirement from all things legal with CLT’s Assessing and Recovering Costs in 2009 Conference being his last "public appearance". GWS wish him a happy retirement and all the best for the future....

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New claims process facing problems

By on Apr 17, 2009 | 0 comments

Another quick update on an issue I have being covering in previous blogs. This is the problem over drafting the rules to cover the new claims process for low value RTAs. The recent edition of Litigation Funding reports: “We understand that talks between all the stakeholders to define the process are not going well (they were meant to have been concluded by Christmas), and that the Civil Justice Council has been drafted in to run a mediation over the next three months. The planned implementation date of 1 October 2009 is starting to look more than a little optimistic, and the thought arises afresh as to whether it is really worth the...

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APIL complains about excessive costs of litigation

By on Apr 15, 2009 | 0 comments

Whether excessive legal costs are really a problem depends, in part, from what perspective you are considering matters. Defendants have little difficulty appreciating how problematic this issue is. However, claimant representatives have been far slower to join in the criticisms. How strange then that the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) should now join in and what a strange area they have decided to highlight. Responding to the Ministry of Justice consultation on increasing civil court fees, APIL said “injured people could be left high and dry as the increases will effectively price them out of the courts”. APIL president Amanda Stevens said the changes would mean fees could rise, on average, by around 55 per cent, and more than 4,000 per cent in some areas. “Increases on this scale are staggering and will undoubtedly make it more difficult for injured, vulnerable people to receive assistance from the courts if a claim cannot be settled any other way,” she said. In a previous blog I commented on one of the proposed fee increases. So what increases does APIL believe will prevent injured people receiving proper compensation? The only increases that APIL felt able to comment on are those in relation to detailed assessment proceedings. Other than the truly eye watering increase for LSC funded cases, the other increases raise, for example, the fee for a request for a default costs certificate from £45 to £60 and the fee for appealing a decision made in detailed assessment proceedings from £105 to £200. Now, I may be somewhat naive here, but do any lawyers really believe that the court fees for certain aspects of detailed assessment are going to be a factor that discourages litigation? The average litigant will not have the slightest idea as to the potential costs of general litigation, let alone the costs of the costs. I would be fascinated to see a firm of solicitors that provides costs estimates to their clients that are so carefully calculated that these increases are going to be factored-in or, indeed, that any solicitors actually even consider the potential costs of detailed assessment proceedings when starting a claim and advising their client. When the Guideline Hourly Rates were increased at the...

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Legal costs uncertainty continues for costs draftsmen and lawyers

By on Apr 9, 2009 | 0 comments

In previous posts I have been commenting on the proposed new claims process and the problems that arise as to what the relationship will be between the proposed new staged fixed fees under the new claims process and the existing fixed predictable costs (CPR 45.7-45.14). This problem is beginning to look more acute as time goes on. At the recent Legal & Medical conference, Amanda Stevens, President of APIL, raised concern over the level of consultation yet needed to deliver a tight and clarified costs process by the expected reform start date of October 2009. There will be a continuing period of uncertainty for insurers, lawyers and law costs draftsmen. Don’t be surprised if the whole concept is scrapped and they go right back to the drawing board. You heard it here...

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