The defendant costs specialists

Posts Tagged "costs draftsmen"

Costs Counsel v Costs Lawyer

By on Jul 21, 2010 | 7 comments

A recent edition of Costs Lawyer magazine contained an interview with the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen’s new chairman Iain Stark. In the interview he argues for costs lawyers to reclaim advocacy work on the basis that: “We created the mini costs industry for barristers. That was our own fault, predominantly because we didn’t have our own rights of audience. … We’ve got members who should be out there competing against barristers for these big cases and saying to their clients, ‘Don’t instruct a barrister. I can do this’.” [Ironically, underneath this interview was an advertisement from a set of chambers specialising in costs. I wonder if they paid more or less to have an advertisement placed in that position.] At the risk of being accused of being a contrarian (me?), I’m not sure I agree with this analysis of the growth of specialist costs counsel. I’ll start by making two things perfectly clear: 1. Many costs draftsmen are highly accomplished advocates. 2. A formal background or training in the law is not a prerequisite to becoming a skilled costs draftsman. Many will have learnt on the job and many will argue that this is the best form of training. The big costs cases of recent years have almost all found their way to at least the Court of Appeal (eg Callery v Gray [2001] EWCA Civ 1117, Hollins v Russell [2003] EWCA Civ 718, Claims Direct Test Cases [2003] EWCA Civ 136, Myatt v National Coal Board [2006] EWCA Civ 1017, etc). In fact, the rights of audience of costs lawyers extends only up to High Court Judge or Circuit Judge level. Costs lawyers still do not have the same rights of audience as barristers and have no automatic right to appear in the Court of Appeal in the “big cases”. In the past, and long before law costs draftsmen obtained automatic rights of audience via the costs lawyer route, costs draftsmen happily appeared in the courts on detailed assessment. This was during a period when legal costs law was relatively straightforward. Most disputes came down to little more than arguments about the number of letters written or time claimed. The “traditional” law costs draftsman was more than...

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Law costs draftsman

By on May 7, 2010 | 1 comment

A further definition from The (Alternative) Legal Costs Dictionary: Law costs draftsman n. a lawyer concerned with quantifying the legal costs of a case. A costs draftsman is to the legal profession what a train spotter is to the world of professional sportsmen. Similar to an accountant but without the glamour or dress...

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We're all doomed

By on Apr 30, 2010 | 9 comments

I am going to do something that does not come naturally to me. I have going to admit I was wrong. Worse than that, I am going to have to admit to being wrong about three things. This whole process is so traumatic that I am going to have to stagger this over several days. I was wrong when I predicted that the new RTA Claims Process would not happen (see post) either because agreement would not be reached in relation to the rules or because the Jackson Costs Review would torpedo it. Yet, here we are with the process due to launch today. There are those who are already taking bets on how quickly the new "portal of doom" will crash. I’m sticking with my other prediction that the process will produce a flood of satellite litigation, a view shared by Master Hurst who said at the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen’s AGM that the process is so complicated it would generate satellite litigation for "the foreseeable future".  So good news for law costs draftsmen and other costs professionals at least....

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Legal Costs Central

By on Apr 29, 2010 | 1 comment

The internet contains an enormous amount of legal costs law information, much of it free. Unfortunately, it tends to be scattered throughout the web or buried deep within specialist sites. Wouldn’t it be great if all this information could be easily accessed? Well, of course it would be which is why the Legal Costs Blog is delighted to announce the launch of Legal Costs Central. This is an intuitive webpage giving you direct links to all that legal costs information out there. So it’s just a links page then? So what? No, this is nothing like other link pages that some law costs drafting firms have on their sites that have a handful of links to, for example, the homepage of the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen or the Law Society. This is a serious tool which … oh you’ll just have to look for yourself to see what I mean: We’ve even included a Google search tool so there is no reason why costs practitioners shouldn’t make this their homepage. With everything just a couple of clicks away think of the hours of time saved. The site does not attempt to cover criminal or legal aid costs law. It is also not an attempt to create a directory of everything costs related on the internet. There are an enormous number of interesting costs articles, podcasts, webinars, etc out there and this does not attempt to create a directory of all that material. An interesting project for another day? Please read the Disclaimer before using Legal Costs Central, although it shouldn’t really be necessary to spell this out. Don’t dabble in legal costs unless you know what you are doing (I wonder if the judiciary should made to follow this rule). This should be treated as something of a work in progress at the moment. We are planning on making further enhancements in coming weeks. If you have any suggestions for other useful links or spot any broken links please drop us an email via the Contact page....

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Costs draftsmen's late Christmas present

By on Feb 24, 2010 | 0 comments

A number of readers no doubt work in the area of RTA claims.  Some at the front-end of the claims process dealing with the substantive claim, others at the tail-end of the costs side.  Hopefully, those readers will therefore be aware that we have a new claims process for low value RTAs starting on 6 April 2010 (and if they didn’t know they are in real trouble). What some of the more observant may have noticed is that despite being only a few weeks away from the start date we still have no published rules as to how the scheme will work.  Quite how this shocking state of affairs arose is a mystery.  However, finally, some progress is being made.  The Ministry of Justice has written to a number of specific bodies: “The Civil Procedure Rule Committee approved the drafts of the documents listed below on the 12th February 2010.  These documents are in draft form until:  (1) the Statutory Instrument has been signed by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee and the Minister and then laid before Parliament, and (2) the practice direction making document has been signed by the Minister and the Master of the Rolls.    It is expected that the Statutory Instrument will be laid before Parliament by the beginning of March.  In view of the familiarisation, training and system adjustments that practitioners will need to undertake in order to be compliant with the new process we have decided [how gracious of the powers that be] to circulate these rules etc in draft form.  Please circulate to your members as appropriate.” In case these haven’t yet made their way to you, the Legal Costs Blog and Gibbs Wyatt Stone have provided a link to all the draft documents here: RTA Claims Process.  Read them and weep.  No surprise that the final report in the Jackson Costs Review commented on the new process in this way: “I have two concerns about the new process in its present form.  My first concern is the sheer complexity of the process.  Over 80 pages of new material will be added to the rule book, in order to deal with the simplest category of litigation which exists, namely low value RTA claims where liability is admitted.  I fear that collectively these procedures might possibly open up a new theatre for the costs war.” And that,...

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