The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in June, 2013

Rise in public liability claims

By on Jun 27, 2013 | 6 comments

Commenting on the shock 57% jump in public liability claims in 2012/13 an APIL press release says: “This is the final proof, if ever proof were needed, that the compensation culture is out of control. It is inconceivable that the number of genuine claims would increase by such a staggering amount in such a short period. We urge the Ministry of Justice to clamp down on these bogus claims and all those associated with them.” Actually, APIL said no such thing. They did recently make a big song and dance about the modest reduction in whiplash claims. To be fair, this is in the context of the ongoing debate as to how to control rising RTA insurance with the finger being pointed as the compensation culture. Although, to put this in context, the number of RTA claims for 2012/13 is still 44% higher than in 2006/07. So what else do the 2012/13 DWP figures show: Clinical negligence claims – 18% increase on last year (87% increase on 2006/07) Employers’ liability claims – 4% increase on last year (8% decrease on 2006/07) Public liability – 57% increase on last year (107% increase on 2006/07) RTA – 10% decrease on last year (44% increase on 2006/07) Other – 610% increase on last year (595% increase on 2006/07) Total – 1% increase on last year (47% increase on 2006/07) So, even with a large drop in RTA claims, by far the largest category, the overall number of claims has still managed to increase. But, unless I’ve missed it, I’ve seen no mention or commentary in the legal press or elsewhere as to the massive one year jump from 104,863 to 164,973 in PL claims. I can understand that APIL may not want to be highlighting these figures in the context of the compensation culture debate but surely there is a story here for...

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Inflated legal costs claims

By on Jun 25, 2013 | 23 comments

At the recent Association of Costs Lawyers’ Annual Conference a survey was undertaken of delegates. This included a question as to how many members had experienced unqualified costs draftsmen inflating their bills. There was no corresponding question as to how many had experienced qualified, and regulated, Costs Lawyers inflating their bills, nor, for that matter, how many had experienced qualified and regulated solicitors inflating their bills....

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Detailed assessment offers

By on Jun 19, 2013 | 5 comments

A recent email update from Costs Law Reports covered some of the recent changes to the Civil Procedure Rules. This included the following comment: “Parties who wish to make offers to settle the costs can no longer do so by making an offer ‘without prejudice save as to the costs of assessment’. On 1 April 2013, CPR 47.19 was revoked and instead the provisions of Part 36 apply, so a paying party who wishes to protect himself against having to pay the costs of assessment must now make an offer under Part 36 (see CPR 47.20).” If this is meant to represent a statement of the law, it is wrong (even ignoring the transitional provisions concerning cases where detailed assessment proceedings were commenced before 1 April 2013). The new PD 8.3 to CPR 47.9 states: “The paying party must state in an open letter accompanying the points of dispute what sum, if any, that party offers to pay in settlement of the total costs claimed. The paying party may also make an offer under Part 36” Although it remains something of a mystery exactly what purpose the open offer is intended to fulfil, it is difficult to envisage a situation where a paying party “wins” on their open offer but is then not awarded their costs of the detailed assessment proceedings. Further, in so far as “provisions of Part 36 apply to the costs of detailed assessment proceedings” that also includes CPR 36.1(2): “Nothing in this Section prevents a party making an offer to settle in whatever way he chooses, but if the offer is not made in accordance with rule 36.2, it will not have the consequences specified in rules 36.10, 36.11 and 36.14.” The right to make a “Calderbank offer” in costs proceedings (ie one “without prejudice save as to the costs of assessment”) remains. Further, PD 14.3(d) to CPR 47.15 states that the following must be filed with the court when requesting a provisional assessment: “the offers made (those marked ‘without prejudice save as to costs’ or made under Part 36 must be contained in a sealed envelope, marked ‘Part 36 or similar offers’, but not indicating which party or parties have made them)” It is...

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Costs budgeting

By on Jun 13, 2013 | 13 comments

Job advertisement in Costs Lawyer magazine: “specialist Law Cost Practice is looking to recruit an experienced law costs specialist who can deal with bill drafting, PODs and costs budgeting. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 2 years experience dealing with all areas of Law Costs” Given the limited costs management pilots, I doubt many, if any, costs draftsmen with only two years’ experience will have any costs budgeting experience, much less had the opportunity to discover whether 2-3 years later those budgets have proved to be even remotely realistic. We therefore have the bizarre prospect of costs firms holding themselves out as being skilled at preparing costs budgets when they intend to give the work to those with no actual experience of the task and almost certainly far too little practical experience to make even an educated...

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Costs draftsmen and costs budgeting

By on Jun 10, 2013 | 40 comments

I note that in relation to preparing costs budgets the Final Report on the Costs Management Pilot records that: “Costs draftsmen were only used in 7% of cases and trainee solicitors or paralegals in 17.2% of cases” Costs budgeting: the saviour of the costs...

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