The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in May, 2010

Jackson hung out to dry?

By on May 19, 2010 | 0 comments

I had prepared a detailed post advising readers of the Legal Costs Blog which party they should vote for in the General Election. Unfortunately, due to a technical problem, the post did not appear. Readers will now have to wait for the next election before discovering my political views. Professor Dominic Regan, in his blog, the day before the Election, wrote: “I had a thoughtful note from Dominic Grieve QC last night. A Conservative administration is committed to serious costs reform and is interested in but not committed to the Jackson report. The Conservatives would move quite quickly on this. Whatever happens tomorrow the reform of costs will not go away.” So, where does the coalition leave the future of the Jackson Costs Report? Has a hung parliament left Jackson hung out to dry? On Saturday, Regan posted an update confirming his view: “The 219 distinct recommendations made by Sir Rupert Jackson are not going to be ignored by the new administration. … Reform will come.” The political element was always the great unknown in the Jackson Report. At the moment, all bets are off. Oh, OK then. My current prediction is the fixed costs proposals for fast track matters will make it through but not an end to recovery of additional liabilities....

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Exclusive RTA Protocol Article

By on May 12, 2010 | 0 comments

We are always looking for interesting content for our readers and the Legal Costs Blog is absolutely delighted to have obtained an exclusive article from specialist costs counsel Kevin Latham and Mark Friston of Kings Chambers. This article covers the new Road Traffic Accident Protocol. This is the most comprehensive review of the scheme we have seen (and it is clear from a number of readers’  comments how much assistance is urgently required on these muddled new rules).  Not only does this provide an excellent run through of the new scheme, but it identifies a number of problem areas which are likely to form the basis for the next round of the Costs Wars.  For example: "There is a risk that less scrupulous claimants will make offers which are unlikely to be accepted by defendants, only to withdraw them following the total consideration period and thus obtain costs assessed on the standard basis when Part 7 proceedings are issued. It seems that the new regime offers the defendant very little protection from this potential abuse. The point is re-enforced as the defendant’s offer in the S2SP would appear not to attract Part 36 status (as an RTA Protocol Offer) until proceedings are issued under PD 8B and offers made within the S2SP are unlikely to comply with the formal requirements of CPR 36.2. It would thus seem that the only way in which a defendant can protect himself against this unsatisfactory position, is to replicate every offer made within the S2SP and subsequent total consideration period in correspondence as a fully compliant Part 36 offer in the event that the claim falls outside the Protocol at some future point." This is invaluable reading for those dealing with RTA claims.  Read and circulate: RTA Protocol...

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Champertous arrangements

By on May 11, 2010 | 0 comments

A firm of solicitors offers to indemnify its client against an adverse costs order as part of its CFA. In Dix v Townend [2008] EWHC 90117 (Costs) Deputy Master Williams held such an agreement to be contrary to public policy and to invalidate any retainer. MacDuff J in Morris v London Borough of Southwark [2010] EWHC B1 (QB) held that such an agreement might be unlawful but the particular one he was considering was lawful. The matter is now headed off to the Court of Appeal.  Until the Court gives a definitive ruling, solicitors would be foolish to continue to offer such indemnities....

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Proportionality post-Jackson

By on May 10, 2010 | 0 comments

Readers may be interested in the recent article I wrote for the New Law Journal (see link) on Lord Justice Jackson’s proposals in relation to redefining the concept of proportionality in legal costs. 

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