20 April, 2010
Filed UnderLegal Costs
The long wait is finally over and Dr Mark Friston's new book Civil Costs: Law and Practice is finally published. It should be starting to ship and arrive in bookshops round about now.
Was it worth the wait? Oh, yes.
Early drafts may have hinted at it but the final version confirms this book will become the Bible of the legal costs world. Whenever a complex legal costs issue arises on detailed assessment, this is the book that costs judges will reach for to resolve the issue. It is simply head-and-shoulders above any other costs book on the market.
Some costs books contain little or no commentary on the subject and simply recite large chunks of the CPR or costs case law. Other publications are full of commentary but it is virtually impossible to determine how much of this is based on established points of law, due to an absence of comprehensive referencing, or how much is simply the writer’s opinion.
This book manages to bridge that gap. There is not a single proposition put forward that does not have a detailed corresponding reference for the authority (and there are thousands of footnotes). On the rare occasion where the writer’s opinion alone is being given, this is made crystal clear.
The chapters are broken down into subchapters dealing with real, practical issues. Subchapters include not only broad topics such “limitation”, “apportionment”, and “oral retainer”, but also day-to-day questions such as “copying charges” and “experts’ fees”.
This book is written primarily as practitioners’ text rather than a students’ text. However, sections of it will be invaluable to students taking the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen’s Modular Training Course. Students who remember even a fraction of what is contained within this book will fly through the ALCD’s examinations.
The bad news, of sorts, is that this is not an idiot’s guide to costs law. Costs muppets will gain little assistance from this book, although they may still feel obliged to own a copy given this book will be routinely quoted from.
This has not been written as a book to read from cover-to-cover. However, those who do so will find their time rewarded a thousand times over. This book is full of gems that even experienced costs practitioners will have either never come across or long since forgotten.
If you go to a detailed assessment without a copy of this book under your arm, small children will follow you down the street laughing.