The defendant costs specialists

Posts Tagged "Queen’s Counsel"

Reasonable legal costs – Compared to what?

By on Feb 16, 2010 | 1 comment

It is not unusual for me to make offers in relation to claimants’ bills of costs that represents only a fraction of the amount claimed.  However, from time to time the response I receive is not simply the inevitable one of displeasure but what appears to be a genuine reaction of incredulity.  There appears to be total disbelief in relation to the figures I have put forward, particularly in relation to document time in high value claims.  The claimant’s lawyer takes the view that no solicitor, however good, could possibly be expected to undertake the work in so little time. The problem that many claimant lawyers have is that their experience of what is "normal", in terms of time taken to run a claim, is often limited to no more than how long it takes them, or possibly some of their colleagues in the same firm, to run similar cases.  They have no idea how other firms handle such claims or how quickly.  If they spend 100 hours on documents for a certain type of disease claim they assume that is normal and reasonable.  The fact that the majority of other firms, for a similar claim, might take, for example, 50 hours is something totally outside their field of experience. On the other hand, as a defendant costs practitioner, I see large numbers of bills of costs from firms throughout the country.  In my capacity as a manager, I have seen literally thousands more claims for costs beyond those I have dealt with personally.  It is staggering the difference in the size of a bill from an efficient firm compared to those from inefficient firms.  Before some readers start complaining that they should not be criticised for dealing methodically and conscientiously with their clients’ claims and not cutting corners, my experience is that the best fee earners, in terms of the results they achieve for their clients, are very often exactly the same ones who produce the most modest bills.  It is often those firms that are not real specialists (despite their claims to the contrary) who under-settle claims, take twice as long to achieve under-settlement, and then produce the highest bills.  One of the obvious criticisms of the...

Read More

Guideline Hourly Rates 2010

By on Jan 6, 2010 | 2 comments

Will there be an increase in the Guideline Hourly Rates for 2010?  The latest news is that the Master of the Rolls has decided to wait until after publication of Sir Rupert Jackson’s report of his review of Civil Litigation Costs before deciding whether to make any changes to the current Guideline Hourly Rates. That report is due to be published on 14 January 2010.  My prediction: no change. Click image to enlarge:  ...

Read More

Costs Judge Vacancies

By on Dec 16, 2009 | 0 comments

Anyone looking for a new job for next year might want to consider one of two posts being advertised for costs judges in the Senior Courts Costs Office (salary £102,921 plus £4,000 London allowance).  You’ll have to be quick though as the closing date is 7 January 2010.   Click image to enlarge:    ...

Read More

A working alternative to recoverable success fees?

By on Dec 4, 2009 | 2 comments

As the tension mounts as to what might be going through the mind of Lord Justice Jackson as he prepares his final report on his civil costs review, might he be influenced by the litigation landscape north of the boarder?  The recently published Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review states that the majority of damages claims in Scotland are pursued on the basis of "speculative fee arrangements" (no win, no fee agreements).  This is despite the fact that: "Unlike in England and Wales, success fees and ‘after the event’ insurance premiums are not recoverable and will have to be paid by a successful [claimant] from the damages recovered, unless they are waived or absorbed by the [claimant’s] solicitor".  Jackson LJ’s Preliminary Report raises a number of concerns about the English system of recoverable success fees and ATE premiums.  If non-recovery seems to work in Scotland, why not here? And while Jackson LJ may be looking north of the boarder, they are looking back.  The Scottish report concludes: "We have given careful consideration to the use made of speculative fee arrangements in this country and the experience of conditional fee agreements in England and Wales. We consider that it would be premature to recommend any changes to speculative fee agreements as they are presently constituted in Scotland. The civil costs review in England and Wales chaired by Lord Justice Jackson should be monitored for its research findings and its conclusions" Deep-fried Mars Bar anyone? Click image to enlarge:  ...

Read More