The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in February, 2012

Civil Costs: Law and Practice

By on Feb 29, 2012 | 4 comments

On Monday advanced copies of the second edition of Mark Friston’s Civil Costs: Law and Practice were available for sale on Amazon and the book was 203,469 in the Bestsellers list. Yesterday I made a brief mention that Amazon were selling it at a discounted price and by the afternoon it had jumped to number 951 in the Bestsellers list and number 3 in the Law Bestsellers list (and the other two books aren’t legal text books). Readers of the Legal Costs Blog know a good thing when they see...

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Civil Costs: Law and Practice – Second Edition – Latest news

By on Feb 28, 2012 | 7 comments

Word reaches me that the second edition of Mark Friston’s Civil Costs: Law and Practice has been finalised and is now being proofed and indexed for publication shortly. For complicated reasons that I won’t trouble you with it appears Amazon’s algorithms are currently listing this for pre-order at a ridiculously discounted price. At the time of writing this was £64.60. Consider how this compares to the price of the nearest “rival” publication. The price is not going to stay this low and at Gibbs Wyatt Stone we’ve already ordered multiple copies. Don’t come crying to me if you hold off now and then have to pay a higher...

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Dockerill v Tullett

By on Feb 27, 2012 | 13 comments

After the disappointing decision in Simcoe v Jacuzzi UK Group plc [2012] EWCA Civ 137 we now have some good news for defendants and insurers. How should the courts approach a detailed assessment hearing where the case concerns a child, damages for personal injury are agreed at no more than £1,000 and the matter proceeds just in relation to an infant approval hearing? Because the matter settles pre-proceedings it will not have been allocated to the small claims track, as would be normal for a claim of this value. Part 8 proceedings for infant approval hearings are treated as being allocated to the multi-track. Can the claimant recover costs on the standard basis? No, said the Court of Appeal in Dockerill v Tullett [2012] EWCA Civ 184 (heard with the linked appeals of Macefield v Bakos and Tubridy v Sarwar). Although the Court should not simply impose small claims track costs, it should exercise scrutiny when deciding what legal involvement was required. In reality, this will usually mean limiting the legal fees to the costs of an advice on quantum (all that is required for an infant approval hearing). Any other solicitors’/barristers’ fees are likely to be disallowed. What about the situation where a matter falls into the predictable costs regime for RTAs? The rules allow for recovery of counsel’s fees where they have been “necessarily incurred”. The Court ruled that the costs of counsel providing the written advice for the approval hearing will normally be recoverable but the costs of counsel attending the approval hearing will not normally be allowed. These decisions will produce significant savings for defendants and insurers and provide long awaited certainty for law costs draftsmen and costs lawyers. I note that costs counsel Roger Mallalieu appeared for the successful claimants in Simcoe. He appeared for the successful defendants in these cases. Roger is clearly on a bit of a...

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In forma pauperis

By on Feb 24, 2012 | 2 comments

I mentioned in a post the other day how legal aid was not introduced in this country until 1949. Although technically correct, I made the mistake of commenting on the subject of legal aid without first consulting with legal aid expert Murray Heining. He advises that this is what the Costs Lawyer training materials have to say on the subject: “In forma pauperis In 1488 the first legislation providing for Legal Aid was introduced in Scotland. Legislation in England followed 7 years later with the Poor Persons Act (11 Hen.7, C12). By this Act: • the poor were not charged fees on the issue of writs; • clerks, counsel and attorneys were assigned to prepare writs on their behalf without charge; and • for hearings of writs counsel were assigned to act without charge. In 1531 a statute (Hen. 8, C15) was introduced removing the liability of poor persons for the costs of a successful opponent. However, courts could order their punishment for non-payment of costs. This could and did include corporal punishment and imprisonment. The act was repealed in the 19th Century. Throughout the 19th Century substantially the only official assistance given to the poor man to help his access to the civil courts was by an in forma pauperis procedure and only in the superior courts. The Civil Procedure Act 1883 and accompanying rules made provision for Legal Aid to be granted by courts. In the early 20th Century a poor persons’ procedure was introduced by the Rules of the Supreme Court (Poor Persons) 1913 and was extended by the Rules of the Supreme Court (Poor Persons) 1914. These rules were amended from time to time. They enabled the poor to obtain the free services of solicitors and counsel in the High Court. The rules did not extend to the county courts and did not cover civil cases in magistrates’ courts. (Even with the introduction of Legal Aid proper in 1949 there was until 1960 only limited Legal Aid for appeals to the House of Lords by the Appeal (Forma Pauperis Act 1893). Although pro bono services were provided by some solicitors and counsel it was very difficult for the poor to find solicitors willing to provide...

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Detailed assessment

By on Feb 23, 2012 | 5 comments

Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC writing in the New Law Journal: “In short, what the elaborate structure of assessment comes down to, is not to keep costs down to a reasonable level, but to determine a market rate. In reality, it does not even do that. At best, it is an imperfect means of limiting dishonest claims.”

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