Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in November, 2011

Referral fee ban

By on Nov 9, 2011 | 1 comment

Jack Straw’s attempt to make the payment of referral fees a criminal offence has failed (in part because of concerns over the burden of proof required). Instead the proposed ban will be dealt with by the regulators. Dominic Regan, writing in the New Law Journal, suggests this is: “the most sensible way of enforcing a ban upon the profession. … The risk of being struck off should ensure that the tempted do not succumb” So the clock will be turned back to pre-2004 when the Law Society rules banned referral fees and solicitors wouldn’t dream of paying them for fear of the consequences. Unless there were panel members of Claims Direct, Accident Group, etc,...

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Funding costs

By on Nov 8, 2011 | 10 comments

The Court of Appeal handed down judgment on 12 October 2011 in Motto & Others v Trafigura [2011] EWCA Civ 1150 ruling that funding costs are not recoverable. How long will I have to wait before all bills of costs have stopped claiming for this work?    

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Proportionality options

By on Nov 7, 2011 | 0 comments

The Civil Justice Committee Working Group on Technical Aspects of Jackson Implementation has published its initial paper on possible options for implementing changes to proportionality, Part 36 Offers and Qualified One-way Costs Shifting. Rachel Rothwell, writing in the Gazette, described the working group as “comprising some of the most talented and experienced practitioners in the field of costs”. A view that the Association of Costs Lawyers wouldn’t necessarily share. I’m putting my money on them picking Option C for proportionality: The hybrid model. Under this model both reasonableness and proportionality are considered at the same time when ever an item or category of costs is being assessed / budgeted. Unlike Option A and B, proportionality (and the new rule) is applied as the items of the bill or categories of costs are being assessed alongside considerations of reasonableness. There is then a residual long stop for the court to reduce the figure still further if the proportionality rule justifies it. This will be applied in only rare / exceptional cases. Like Option A, the application of the long stop will be in exceptional or rare cases only, but this time not because reasonableness would have catered for disproportionate costs (as in Option A) but because inevitably where a court has assessed items as being reasonable and proportionate during an assessment it will only be in exceptional or rare cases that the outcome of the assessment results in a disproportionate figure. In real terms, this will mean no change from the current position for the vast majority of cases. Proportionality will remain a damp-squib with no impact on the amounts allowed by the courts, thus undermining one of the key Jackson...

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Jackson moves forwards

By on Nov 3, 2011 | 0 comments

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, implementing the Jackson reforms, has cleared the Commons and will now go to the House of Lords. Lord Justice Jackson, in a written lecture, said: “Lawyers leave no stone unturned when it comes to arguing about costs” I think this is something of a generalisation. I would never dream of running anything but the strongest of arguments. As for all the others I come up against in court… Lecture can be read...

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Costs lawyer's 100% success rate

By on Nov 2, 2011 | 5 comments

Just received email from costs drafting recruitment agency for costs lawyer who “has successfully maintained a record of achieving 100% success in court cases over a 16 year period”. Is this something to shout about? Discuss.

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