The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in June, 2016

Gibbs Wyatt Stone named Most Outstanding Law Firm of 2016

By on Jun 16, 2016 | 4 comments

I’m delighted to announce that Gibbs Wyatt Stone has been named ‘Most Outstanding Law Firm of 2016, the UK’. I was notified of this via an email from a Mandeep Singh from Wealth & Finance INTL magazine (no, I hadn’t either) advising that: “following months of research by our in-house research team, Gibbs Wyatt Stone has been named as a ‘Most Outstanding Law Firm of 2016, the UK’.  Since 2016 began, here at Wealth & Finance INTL we have been looking for some of the leading, most innovative, competitive and client-focused of law firms who have demonstrated truly marvelous things this year. … Only the most creative, forward-thinking and truly exceptional of law firms stand out from the crowd in these competitive times.  In the modern legal environment both the very niche law firms as well as the international law firms can make a real impact within their jurisdiction(s) or specialist area(s), meaning that firms of all sizes have been considered here.” I was told that if I wanted this news to reach their “130,000+ subscribers” there were various packages, ranging from £375 to £3,875 in cost, for different types of exposure in their online publication. My excitement was only slightly muted by the fact I had received just the day before another email from Mandeep Singh advising: “My name is Mandeep Singh and I am contacting you on behalf of Wealth & Finance INTL to inform you that Gibbs Wyatt Stone has been named as a winner in ‘2016’s Fund Manager Elite’ awards. … Over the course of the past two months, our in-house research team have been scouring the market in search of truly outstanding fund managers who have gained a reputation for providing their clients with the most innovative and successful money management and advisory services.  All of this year’s winning firms have been drawn from across 8 categories (the details of which you can find below) and will be the sole representative from their country. This mean that you will be the only business based in the USA to appear in the publication, ensuring maximum exposure among your competitors and peers. … As a winner in this year’s awards, you are now free to publicise...

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Reducing the costs of litigation

By on Jun 13, 2016 | 0 comments

The Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson has recently spoken out at his shock that there is a need for appeal judges: “Well paid judges at first instance should be able to get it right first time, every time.  The fact that so many fail to do so causes parties to have to incur substantial further legal costs on appeals.  Without the need for appeals, a whole swath of the judiciary would be freed up to deal with proper hearings rather than unnecessary time being taken up attempting to correct mistakes made by more junior judges”. OK. He didn’t really say that. Why would a senior appeal judge think that appeals were a bad thing and a cause of unnecessary expense? What he actually said was: “I am horrified that costs litigation is now a recognised specialism.  Costs law is so complicated that there is a Costs Bar and Costs Law Reports”.  Sadly, history does not relate what his subsequent reaction was to discovering that costs litigation has become such a blight on the law that a specialist court has had to be set up to deal with NOTHING BUT this area (dealing with 15,943 assessments in 2015) and there are now full time judges appointed to deal with NOTHING BUT costs litigation.  I trust Lord Dyson had a lie down in a darkened room to recover. Costs litigation may well be one good example of the complexity of the whole system but is it really any worse than whole swathes of the day-to-day work that appeal judges have to deal with?  How many Court of Appeal decisions have there been trying to give guidance as to the proper operation of Part 36?  Part 36 is meant to be a short and self-contained code.  This is then compounded by the repeated re-drafting of Part 36 to try produce a rule that actually achieves its supposed ends because previous versions are perceived to have failed.  I still see, on a virtually weekly basis, defectively drafted Part 36 offers.  Admittedly, much of this is due to lazy lawyers, but the inherent complexities created by even this narrow rule must be a contributing factor. The majority of appeals are as a result...

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Rights of audience at detailed assessment

By on Jun 10, 2016 | 6 comments

The issue of rights of audience at detailed assessment has reared its head again. This was prompted by The Personal Injuries Bar Association, with the support of the Bar Council, writing to the CPRC over their concerns that solicitor’s agents – usually unregistered barristers – were increasingly being used to conduct advocacy in open court at stage 3 quantum-only hearings under the various personal injury pre-action protocols. The letter said the exemption in the Legal Services Act 2007 from needing rights of audience was plainly drafted to confine it “to hearings which are held in private”, although the Act uses the now out-dated phrase “in chambers”. Ignoring for the moment the merits of restricting rights of audience for certain types of hearing, this is poppycock. CPR 39.2(3) deals with when a hearing may be held in private (the default position being that they are in public): “A hearing, or any part of it, may be in private if – (a) publicity would defeat the object of the hearing; (b) it involves matters relating to national security; (c) it involves confidential information (including information relating to personal financial matters) and publicity would damage that confidentiality; (d) a private hearing is necessary to protect the interests of any child or protected party; (e) it is a hearing of an application made without notice and it would be unjust to any respondent for there to be a public hearing; (f) it involves uncontentious matters arising in the administration of trusts or in the administration of a deceased person’s estate; or (g) the court considers this to be necessary, in the interests of justice.” Why would the Legal Services Act be drafted to provide a specific exception allowing any unqualified unregulated muppet to attend, for example, a hearing concerning national security or concerning the interests of a child but exclude (with criminal consequences) attendances at what are often very routine hearings “in chambers” (that are now open to the public)?  The exemption provided by the Legal Services Act does no more than preserve the position as it has always been for certain types of hearing.  PD 39A, para.1.14 puts this beyond doubt: “References to hearings being in public or private or in a...

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Costs & Fees Encyclopaedia

By on Jun 6, 2016 | 0 comments

The 2016/17 edition of the Costs & Fees Encyclopaedia has recently been published.  It describes itself as the “comprehensive compendium of costs and fees for civil and criminal lawyers”. This is a reference book entirely devoid of commentary and its value to potential readers can really only be judged by describing the contents.  The book runs to 521 pages. Pages 1-99 consist of the relevant costs provisions of the CPR and Practice Directions (Parts 3, 36 and 44-48 and a short section summarising the different J-Codes.  You might describe these pages as “White Book light”.  The book is described as “one handy, portable volume”.  It is portable in the sense that any book is, but the bulky A4 format does not obviously lend itself to being something to take to court.  I also doubt the average judge would find it helpful when asking where to find a particular rule if he is referred to the relevant page of the Costs & Fees Encyclopaedia rather than the White Book (or, possibly, the Green Book).  In reality, this is a desktop reference guide.  Whether, given the continuous amendments to the costs rules and practice directions, most readers prefer to use a physical book that may contain slightly out of date versions or check online is a matter of choice. Pages 100-101 contain The Offers to settle in Civil Proceedings Order 2013 and The Recovery of Costs Insurance Premiums in Clinical Negligence Proceedings Regulations 2013. Pages 102-103 contain the fixed costs for solicitors and public authority deputies in care proceedings. Pages 104-109 contain the Guideline Hourly Rates for Summary Assessment back to 1999.  Some geographical locations have occasionally moved band during this period but I do feel this information could have been presented in slightly more attractive manner (eg a one page grid). Pages 110-126 consist of the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Rates: Extracts from the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013. Pages 127-228 deals with Costs in Criminal Proceedings and includes: Extract from National Taxing Team Guidelines Extracts from the Criminal Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013 Graduated Fees for Trial Graduated Fees for Guilty Pleas and Cracked Trials Fixed Fees Obtaining Payment Litigators’ Fees for Proceedings in the Court of Appeal...

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