The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in June, 2013

New proportionality test in detailed assessment

By on Jun 6, 2013 | 18 comments

Costs Law Reports issues a free monthly bulletin. This month’s discusses the new proportionality test. It includes the paragraph: “For work undertaken before 1 April 2013, CPR 44.3(7)(b) provides that CPR 44.4(2)(a) as it was on 31 March 2013 still operates. Thus, where a case was commenced before 1 April 2013, the “old” rules apply to work done before that date, but anything carried out thereafter is subject to the new proportionality rule where the standard basis applies.” This is a misreading of the rules (although perhaps understandable given this rule has already been changed once since originally published and in a different manner to the one Richard LJ said the amendment would take). The relevant rule, as contained in the Civil Procedure (Amendment No.2) Rules 2013 reads: “Paragraphs (2)(a) and (5) do not apply in relation to— (a) cases commenced before 1st April 2013; or (b) costs incurred in respect of work done before 1st April 2013, and in relation to such cases or costs, rule 44.4.(2)(a) as it was in force immediately before 1st April 2013 will apply instead.” So, for the avoidance of doubt: All work done pre-1st April 2013 – Old proportionality test applied to all work. All work done post-1st April 2013 – New proportionality test applied to all work. Work done pre and post-1st April 2013. Proceedings not issued – Old proportionality test applied to work done pre-1st April 2013. New proportionality test applied to work done post-1st April 2013. Work done pre and post-1st April 2013. Proceedings issued pre-1st April 2013 – Old proportionality test applied to all work. Work done pre and post-1st April 2013. Proceedings issued post-1st April 2013 – Old proportionality test applied to work done pre-1st April 2013. New proportionality test applied to work done post-1st April...

Read More

Costs Lawyer hourly rates

By on Jun 5, 2013 | 67 comments

At the question and answer sessions at the Association of Costs Lawyers’ Annual Conference there were a number of complaints from the floor as to the tendency of judges to limit Costs Lawyers’ hourly rates to Grade D guideline rates. This was taken as being a great insult to experienced Costs Lawyers of many years’ experience. This issue was raised in the questions to the new Council and the suggestion raised that the ACL should seek to lobby for higher rates. New Chairman Murray Heining acknowledged that this was something that the Council could look into but suggested caution on the basis that the Association may find itself shooting itself in the foot. Murray is no fool. This chimed in with a chat I had at the conference with another experienced Costs Lawyer. One of his solicitor clients had previously been unhappy with their hourly rates being routinely reduced by the local court and decided to undertake an expense of time calculation in the hope that armed with this information they would be able to persuade the court to allow them higher rates. They undertook the calculation only to discover the rates they were already recovering were probably on the generous side. They sensibly decided to let sleeping dogs lie. Murray is aware that many Costs Lawyers are “kitchen table” draftsmen with minimal overheads. Indeed, I rather suspect some have virtually non-existent overheads. I have seen a number of comments on this Blog and on the ACL Forum complaining about the fact the practice directions to CPR 47 are not on the Ministry of Justice website and asking where a copy can be found. It is indeed bizarre that this is missing from the website but the short answer is that a copy can be found in White Book Civil Procedure 2013 Special Supplement that was issued free with the White Book 2013 on publication and appears again in the free updating White Book Civil Procedure 2013 Cumulative Special Supplement (and presumably Green Book equivalent). Of course, the problem for many law costs draftsmen and Costs Lawyers is that they would consider it an unnecessary and wildly extravagant step to purchase a White Book/Green Book and rely on free...

Read More

Cincian law

By on Jun 3, 2013 | 3 comments

While flicking through a copy of Tacitus’s The Annals of Imperial Rome (as you do) I came across a reference to the ancient Cincian law forbidding the acceptance of money or gifts for legal services. Lord Justice Jackson clearly missed a trick when making his proposals for controlling legal costs and it seems as though the introduction of Cincian law would have been the simple solution. (The Commercial and Admiralty Courts should obviously be exempt as excessive legal costs are not a problem there.) I’m therefore going to launch an on-line petition calling for the introduction of Cincian law. I’m sure this is something that both claimant and defendant lawyers can unite behind and show the general public we are motivated by loftier ideals than simply making...

Read More