The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in September, 2011

Leading authority on legal costs law

By on Sep 21, 2011 | 5 comments

I recently received the following exciting email from Lawyer Monthly magazine (never heard of it): Lawyer Monthly Magazine Legal Focus – UK – Costs Law Dear Simon, In the next edition of Lawyer Monthly, the Legal Focus editorial will be reporting on a number of key legal issues companies and organisations face relating to costs law within the UK. Legal costs are a complex area of the law and it is constantly developing. As the profession of the costs draftsmen/lawyer evolves with current reforms, dealing with legal costs has become progressively more complex. The role of a costs lawyer has increased rights and responsibilities attached to it; a costs lawyer no longer deals predominantly with the task of preparing a calculation of legal costs but a lawyer now has the right to litigate on cost related matters and the right to an audience. Costs lawyers are concerned with costs relating to all areas of the law and deal with every conceivable type of legal matter that touches upon the subject of costs. A costs lawyers’ skill is as essential to successful litigation as that of a solicitor or barrister, ensuring that their client’s potential risks are minimized and claimant solicitors are exposed to a dramatic cost risk if unsuccessful. Lawyer Monthly will be delivering a feature on costs law, specifically focusing on the key legal challenges firms and organisations face and examining a number of key areas including: • Overview of costs law and the role of a costs lawyer • Developments in legislation • The preparation of cost estimates • Detailed assessment bills of costs • Points of dispute • The legal issues companies need to consider • The role of a Costs Lawyer in commercial litigation We are now seeking experienced professionals who practice in costs law to take part in this highly topical feature, commenting on the wider legal activity within this sector. If you would like to take part two options are available. Option 1 – £395.00GBP 1 x full page Q&A style interview discussing your practice area and your analysis of key sectors (max 400 words). Option 2 – £495.00GBP 2 x full pages to include a Q&A style interview discussing your practice area...

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Trafigura

By on Sep 20, 2011 | 3 comments

District Judge Richard Chapman, senior vice-president of the Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges, recently wrote in the Solicitors Journal: “Senior Costs Judge Hurst has recently decided that interest on costs starts to run from the date of the costs certificate, not from the date when the order for costs was made, and further that such interest belongs to the client, not to the solicitors” I think that may be a bit of an oversimplification of the Trafigura decision, although I note that my quick summary of the judgment when it came out said something...

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Costs Law Articles Archive

By on Sep 19, 2011 | 1 comment

Costs law is such a pervasive and ever changing area of law that even more generalist legal publications are a source of endless interesting articles on the subject. Unfortunately, many of these articles go the way of so many other legal articles and are read once and then disappear under a pile of other old legal journals never to be read again or go straight into the recycling bin. In an effort to put this right, the Legal Costs Blog is delighted to announce the launch of the Costs Law Articles Archive over on Legal Costs Central. This will feature an archive of costs law related articles written by some of the leading experts in the area. Because this is an archive of older articles it should be treated as no more than a starting place for research as many of the articles will inevitably have been overtaken by subsequent changes in the law. The Costs Law Articles Archive is not intended to compete with legal print publications and those should always be the first port of call for those wanting to stay up to speed with latest developments (after reading the Legal Costs Blog of course). Rather, this is designed to compliment those publications by bringing under one roof a selection of articles that might otherwise be largely lost. The first selection to be uploaded are some articles from the specialist costs team at Kings Chambers that were first published in the New Law Journal and includes discussions on staged success fees, VAT on legal costs and costs estimates. Many thanks to Kings Chambers and the New Law Journal for giving permission to reproduce these articles here. These articles are worth revisiting if for no other reason than to see how quickly matters have progressed in certain areas of costs law between then and now. Over the coming weeks and months this archive will be added to. Readers should feel free to submit their own articles for inclusion although selection will ultimately be a matter for arbitrary editorial discretion. Happy reading: Costs Law Articles...

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The alternative to a referral fee ban?

By on Sep 15, 2011 | 1 comment

Dominic Regan, the Association of Costs Lawyers’ new special adviser, in an article about to appear in the New Law Journal, will suggest that those opposing the introduction of a ban on referral fees are making a mistake. Some solution is required to excessive costs in RTA claims and the alternative might well be an increase in the small claim track to £5,000. In Dominic’s words: “No costs, no referral fees and, oh yes, no solicitors. Is that what they want? It is what they might get”.  ...

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Howell v Lees-Millais – Costs management

By on Sep 13, 2011 | 3 comments

The Association of Costs Lawyers’ new special adviser Dominic Regan, writing in the New Law Journal, discussed the case of Howell v Lees-Millais [2011] EWCA Civ 786. This case concerned a Beddoes application (see Re Beddoe, Downes v Cottam (1893) 1 Ch 547). A trustee is enabled to seek guidance from the court on whether an action should be brought or defended at the expense of the estate. Here, unbelievably, the application took over 12 days of court time with 3,000 pages of evidence and costs exceeding £1,000,000. Dominic commented: “Having watched the costs pilot scheme in Birmingham under the firm but fair expert hand of HH J Simon Brown QC, I am now an utter convert to the idea of having a thorough directions hearing wherever possible. A competent judge will force the parties to take a realistic, proportionate approach. … Bring on Sir Rupert Jackson and quickly, please.” Although it is difficult to object to the principle of firm case management by a judge, the problem is that it relies on suitably skilled and trained members of the judiciary. The original judge in this matter had strong case management powers but had allowed the original hearing of the application to run for eight days (an application which other judges have said should normally require “comparatively small expense” and was an “inexpensive method” of getting a decision). He then allowed a time estimate of a further ten days for argument as to who should pay the costs of the application. Further, Dominic’s article also referred to some of the critical comments made about another judge’s conduct who had been involved in the same case at an earlier point. The management of a case is only as good as the judge with conduct. The attitude of many judges to anything costs law related does not fill one with confidence that costs management will be a 100%...

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