Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in October, 2012

Costs Lawyer insurance requirements

By on Oct 8, 2012 | 1 comment

The Costs Lawyer Standards Board’s Practising Rules for Costs Layers states: “With the exception of those who are employees of a Solicitors firm, Costs Lawyer firm, Insurance firm or other alternative business structure on a PAYE basis, a Costs Lawyer shall ensure that: (a) professional indemnity insurance is in place at all times with minimum cover of £100,000 together with loss of documents cover” The rules do not appear to define a “Costs Lawyer firm” and, indeed, there is no entity regulation for Costs Lawyers meaning there are no insurance requirements placed on such firms. Unless I have missed something, this means that although an independent Costs Lawyer or one in a partnership is required to have such insurance to practise, an employed Costs Lawyer is not. Why? My recollection is that the old Association of Law Costs Draftsmen’s rules required all members to have professional indemnity insurance whether personally or through their employer. That seemed perfectly sensible and workable. Is this not the case now? Any don’t even get me started on the issue of whether £100,000 cover is a reasonable...

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Association of Costs Lawyers membership review?

By on Oct 1, 2012 | 6 comments

One of the requirements imposed on the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) by the Legal Services Act was the separation of its regulatory and representative roles. Therefore the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) was created to deal with the regulation of Costs Lawyers and the role of the Association of Costs Lawyers is, in simple terms, now a purely representational one (a trade union for Costs Lawyers, if you like). The CLSB’s recent consultation on the Practising Certificate Fee (PCF) for Costs Lawyers included the interesting comment, that appears to have received limited attention, that: “Please note payment of the PCF does not afford membership of the ACL and further, that it is not a requirement that you are an ACL member to hold a practising certificate.” This appears to mean that a Costs Lawyer does not need to be a member of the ACL to practice so long as they have paid their PCF. On one level, this is not a surprising development. In so far as the ACL’s role is now primarily that of a trade union, it should be optional as to whether Costs Lawyers wish to pay for such representation. The days of the “closed shop” have long since passed and this is now being recognised by the legal professions. The only requirement is that a Costs Lawyer is properly regulated and this task is now performed by the CLSB. The interesting issue, of course, is where this leaves the ACL. It is interesting to recall that during the debate on whether the old ALCD should vote in favour of remaining an approved regulator, in light of the requirements imposed by the Legal Services Act, the then president of the Association said: “If we vote against, the Association will die today”. Now it turns out that the very decision to continue down the road of regulation has rendered the ACL “an optional extra” for Costs Lawyers. Previously, the cost of membership of the ACL was the price to be a Costs Lawyer and have the status and the associated rights of audience, etc. Now those rights come simply by paying the PCF (plus the cost of CPD points, compulsory insurance, etc). This does not, naturally,...

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