Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in April, 2013

Successful National Accident Helpline CFA challenge

By on Apr 26, 2013 | 1 comment

Readers with a very good memory may recall me writing about a successful challenge I ran as to the unenforceability of a CFA under the, now revoked, Conditional Fee Agreement Regulations 2000, in that the solicitors had failed to advise the client of the interest they had in recommending a particular ATE insurance policy. The claim concerned the National Accident Helpline scheme. The Claimant appealed and at the time I wrote that if the appeal was dismissed I would let you know and if it succeeded I would keep quiet about it. You may therefore have concluded that the silence at my end indicated failure at the appeal. Fear not. It just took a very long time to get around to obtaining the transcript with further delays having it approved by the court. My opponent on the appeal was Simon Butler of 9 Gough Square. It was the first time I have been against him and although I managed to win on the day it was not due to any shortcomings on his part. He is fantastic advocate. Dominic Regan regularly tips him as a rising star on his blog and I can see why. What was interesting about this particular case (although, naturally, all costs litigation is fascinating) is how long this case dragged on for. This was a routine RTA claim resulting from an accident on 12 December 2003 which settled for £8,000. The claim settled on 21 February 2008. Detailed assessment proceedings were commenced on 3 March 2009. The initial costs judgment was handed down on 14 April 2011. The appeal was heard on 15 December 2011. The matter then went back to the Senior Courts Costs Office on 3 August 2012 to tie up the loose ends. So even if new work dries up post-Jackson I am hoping for a few cases like this to see me through to retirement. Here is the judgment for the appeal: King v Thames Water Utilities and Transport for...

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Proportionality under Jackson

By on Apr 25, 2013 | 2 comments

Back in April 2010 I wrote an article for the New Law Journal asking how the new proportionality test proposed by Lord Justice Jackson was actually meant to work. Three years later I am still waiting for an answer. A copy of the article is now available to read on the Costs Law Articles Archive section of Legal Costs...

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New Points of Dispute rules

By on Apr 22, 2013 | 5 comments

The old CPD 35.6 provided: “(1) This paragraph applies in cases in which Points of Dispute are capable of being copied onto a computer disk. (2) If, within 14 days of the receipt of the Points of Dispute, the receiving party requests a disk copy of them, the paying party must supply him with a copy free of charge not more than 7 days after the date on which he received the request.” I have been unable to locate any corresponding provision in the new rules. This is particularly strange given it is clearly envisaged any replies made (such as are allowed) will be made on the same document as the points of...

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Costs Officers

By on Apr 19, 2013 | 0 comments

The new Practice Direction 3.1 to CPR 47.3 increases the powers of principal court officers (I believe I’m right in saying there is currently just one) from £75,000 including additional liabilities but excluding VAT to £110,000 base costs excluding VAT. By my reckoning that means once you add back in success fees, ATE premiums and VAT the size of bill that can now be assessed by a principal court officer jumps to £300,000 or more. For non-principal court officers, the power jumps from £30,000 including additional liabilities but excluding VAT to £35,000 base costs excluding VAT. That probably equates to covering some bills with a value of up to £100,000. In the event that makes you a bit uneasy, particularly given the automatic right of appeal, you can still object. If both parties agree, the court will automatically relist before a costs judge or district judge (Practice Direction 3.2 to CPR 47.3). Otherwise, an application is to be made to a costs judge or district judge (Practice Direction 3.3 to CPR...

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