The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in December, 2010

Costs management the future?

By on Dec 15, 2010 | 6 comments

Professor Dominic Regan, writing in the New Law Journal, explained the recommendations he has made following his review for Jackson LJ of the Birmingham Mercantile Court costs management pilot: “My considered recommendation is that the process be applied to every multi-track action whatever the content. … Fast-track cases will be self policing with the arrival of fixed costs sometime soon.” So, no role for costs professionals in fast-track matters and multi-track matters become subject to costs management. The court approves or adjusts the parties’ budgets at the outset. If, at the conclusion of the case, a party’s claim for costs comes within budget, will there be an argument about costs or will the figure generally just be accepted? I suspect the latter. What role for costs...

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Legal costs seminar

By on Dec 14, 2010 | 2 comments

Dr Mark Friston and Professor Dominic Regan are repeating their seminar on the future of the legal marketplace and the impact of Gibbon on Part 36 settlements in Leeds on 24 January 2011 (see link).

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Association of Law Costs Draftsmen warning

By on Dec 13, 2010 | 2 comments

The Association of Law Costs Draftsmen’s chairman Iain Stark was reported in Post Magazine (see link) as warning law firms against using uninsured legal costs advisors to draw up complex bills. This was on the basis that: “If a mistake or a delay in delivering the bill of costs is detrimental to the client, the client can – and will – sue the law firm for compensation and the firm will pass that claim on to the costs advisor. If the advisor does not have PI insurance the law firm’s own insurer will be picking up the compensation bill.” The ALCD therefore advised that only costs lawyers are instructed to undertake this work. The importance of ensuring that the costs advisors that law firms instruct are properly insured should obviously not be underestimated. As the chairman highlighted: “We have reports of several mistakes and delays in bills of costs resulting in compensation claims, some for hundreds of thousands of pounds”. At this stage, ALCD members will be having a good chuckle to themselves. Costs lawyers, who are regulated by the ALCD, are indeed required to have professional indemnity insurance. However, they are required to have insurance with an indemnity of up to only £100,000. Not much good if a mistake has led to a loss of “hundreds of thousands of pounds”. You might have thought it appropriate for the ALCD chairman to mention this small detail. Interestingly, I’m not sure the ALCD really understands exactly what it does require from its members in terms of insurance. Professional indemnity policies can have different definitions as to what is covered by the limit of the indemnity. For example: Costs lawyer has nervous breakdown. Thinks he’s Lady Gaga. Fails to attend five detailed assessment hearings. Client loses £50,000 as a result in each case. Client sues solicitors. Solicitors sue costs lawyer. Costs lawyer recovers from nervous breakdown and makes claim on insurance. Is the claim under the insurance policy going to be treated as five different claim, each well within the £100,000 limit, or a single claim (caused by the single event of a nervous breakdown) for £250,000 leaving a £150,000 shortfall? Different polices deal with this differently. The ALCD doesn’t specify...

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ALCD rethink?

By on Dec 9, 2010 | 6 comments

Association of Law Costs Draftsmen member Sue Nash has written the following letter to ALCD members: Dear All, I am very aware having seen and read e-mail correspondence between members (as well as the GWS blog) as well as through discussions with fellow draftsmen, that there is a considerable amount of unease and dissatisfaction with the ALCD’s decision to effectively re-invent itself as the Association of Costs Lawyers. There was little or no consultation with the membership and indeed the decision must have been taken some time ago as the deadline for publication of the ALCD’s annual diary is usually late summer. A couple of letters have been printed in “The Costs Lawyer” (I am sure I am not the only one to still think of it as “The Journal”) but I am aware that several other letters have been submitted to the Editor but have simply not been published. The most recent edition of course made no reference to this issue at all. Although the impact of the change of membership status is probably most keenly felt by those who deal almost solely with Legal Aid costs, there are other draftsmen who are also unhappy with the changes. I am aware that there has been discussion about the formation of a separate association to represent costs draftsmen (the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen perhaps?!) and whilst this might indeed be the solution that suits most people, I would be loathe to see a split profession as I do not believe it would be in the best interests of either costs draftsmen or costs lawyers. Any representations to the Council will carry more weight if they are supported by a significant number of members and I have canvassed with a few others the idea of holding a meeting for everybody to air their views and to consider what alternatives we might be able to put forward to the Council. There is considerable enthusiasm for such a meeting and I have therefore provisionally booked a meeting room in London on Saturday 8th January between 11.00 am and 2.00 pm and invite you to attend. The cost will only be £30.00 to include lunch and all other refreshments and the time...

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Legal costs hell

By on Dec 8, 2010 | 2 comments

A man was sent to hell for his earthly transgressions.   As he was being led to his place of eternal torment, he passed a room where a costs lawyer was in intimate conversation with a beautiful young woman. “Wait a minute,” the man protested to his demon escort. “I have to roast in hell for all eternity, and someone else gets that?” The demon jabbed the man with the pitchfork and snarled, “Who are you to question that woman’s...

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