The defendant costs specialists

An end to time recording?

By on Feb 24, 2011 | 15 comments

One of Jackson LJ’s proposals is for fixed costs for all stages of all fast-track matters.  He concluded that this would produce savings in its own right as:

“Claimant solicitors will no longer have to maintain documentation required for costs assessment” 

This is presumably on the basis that it will not be necessary to time record with fixed fees for fast-track matters. 

However, won’t solicitors still have to time record pre-allocation as they won’t know which track a matter will be allocated to?  The injuries may be more serious than first thought.  Even if the claimant is happy to run the case on the fast-track, the defendant may raise issues, such as alleging fraud, that takes the case away from the fast-track.  Even if allocated to the fast-track, the matter might be re-allocated at some future date.

    15 Comments

  1. A poorly thought out suggestion by The Rt Hon. Lord Justice Jackson? Well I never!

    Pete B

    24th February 2011

  2. a slippery slope I feel.

    of course when the prof neg action comes people will have file notes detailing the advice they gave etc ….

    chris

    24th February 2011

  3. Some solicitors have not been recording their time for years…

    Richard

    24th February 2011

  4. Solicitors should be able to assess the likely value of a claim at its outset. There will be a few cases where the valuation changes and the matter becomes a multi track case. In those matters the costs draftsman can just estimate time based on the file itself. It will hardly be a regular occurrence (and if it is the solicitor needs some re-training.)

    Defendant Solicitor

    24th February 2011

  5. Dear Defendants Solicitor

    Given you routinely employ cost negotiators whom tell us (wrongly) “estimated time cannot be recovered per Brush”, can you please confirm you will be re-training or replacing said negotiators forthwith?

    Anonymous

    24th February 2011

  6. No requirement to record time for internal management control then?

    The things you learn on here

    Andy Ellis

    24th February 2011

  7. Anonymous- no well read person would argue that estimated time was not recoverable.
    Andy- those fee earners who deal with fast track matters just have billing targets. No need for time recording…having said that, most cms will record time anyone so it is not unduly onerous to keep that but there is no great need to do so in these cases.

    Defendant Solicitor

    24th February 2011

  8. I would say people need file notes – if only to protect them if the worst happens

    therefore if doing a note why not just record the time anyway?

    chris

    25th February 2011

  9. Dear Defendant Solicitor

    clearly the costs people you employ (or rather your Insurance clients do, ignoring Ahmed totally) will be going back to the basics of learning to read forthwith?

    Your comments otherwise remind us timely, of the fixed fee arrangements Defendants Solicitors have with Insurers – what is it now, £450.00 a case, irrespective of how far into the litigation it goes? That very fact demonstrates why fixed fees should be banned entirely – how many times have we all seen a file, where certain Defendant Solicitors are on the other side, and absolutely nothing is heard from them until just before Disposal, when they suddenly want to settle? Why bother working when your fixed fee is so low?

    Anonymous

    25th February 2011

  10. Interesting – and here was me thinking that defendant fixed fee schemes had ways of escaping fixed fees and therefore they found any loop whole they could to escape, eg fraud etc

    chris

    25th February 2011

  11. Has anyone considered the need for WIP and tax requirements?

    Anonymous

    25th February 2011

  12. Has anyone considered [1] the papers belong to the client-subject to a solicitor’s lien for costs and [2] how would a fee paying client mount an attack on his solicitor and client liability under The Solicitors Act for the whole of that liability or any shortfall on the inter-partes recovery?

    Functus Officio

    25th February 2011

  13. CFA lite.

    Defendant Solicitor

    27th February 2011

  14. I did say– “a fee paying client–” with an eye to the future.If the Jackson/Campbell views translate into new legislation or regulation regarding additional liabilities, surely CFA lites are dead in the water as far as solicitors are concerned.
    Equally,would not quite a few clients opt for a private retainer if it could be estimated that their shortfall on the inter-partes recovery was substantially less than their liability for additional liabilities under any changed CFA system?
    Those who presently bleat about success eating into badly needed damages,would surely be unwilling[as happens at present]to deduct the solicitor and client element from those damages.
    OR WOULD THEY?

    Functus Officio

    28th February 2011

  15. There will be firms who will deduct damages. There always have been.

    Equally you suggest that the shortfall should not be claimed. So claimant is not out of pocket, the insurer gets a windfall, the Defendant solicitor gets their bill paid and the only person out of pocket is the claimant solicitor

    now if I thought premiums would go down then my view might change. However it is clear that the only thing that will change is that burden is shifted to Claimant or their legal representative and that the Defendant insurer will pay a bigger share dividend when their profit increases

    chris

    28th February 2011

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