Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in November, 2013

The future of litigation

By on Nov 13, 2013 | 14 comments

Extract from Narrative to bill of costs: “Computer technology was utilised wherever possible. … The Claimants’ solicitors have tried to use novel and efficient ways of dealing with the claim. Wherever possible standard documents have been prepared including questionnaires and in some cases, standard letters. Meetings with the individual Claimants have been minimised. Pro-active use of Part 36 offers and proposed schemes of settlement were intended to enable claims to be resolved in a cost effective and efficient manner” “Novel”? Computer technology, questionnaires and standard letters? Welcome to the Twentieth Century. The “novel” element is also wearing a bit thin given this same standard wording is included in all bills prepared by these costs draftsmen for this firm of...

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Splitting bills of costs

By on Nov 11, 2013 | 7 comments

Regional Costs Judge Marshall Phillips writing in the Solicitors Journal: “In cases issued on or after 1 April 2013, the receiving party should differentiate between work done before and after that date, proving a total for work done before and a total for work done after. The court will be applying a different proportionality test for work done during these two periods”. For many cases, this is no doubt a sensible suggestion, but it is not required by the rules. Secondly, so far as the courts “applying a differently proportionality test for work done during these two periods”, not necessarily. See: proportionality transitional...

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Independent costs draftsmen's rights of audience

By on Nov 8, 2013 | 5 comments

I note the Senior Courts Costs Office Guide 2013 explains: “Independent costs draftsmen have no rights of audience as such but, by concession, are treated as if they are in the employ of the firm of solicitors or other legal representatives instructing them.” I still don’t understand why they view it as a concession. Assuming they have been properly instructed, it is permitted under the Legal Services Act 2007. See:...

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Costs budgeting data

By on Nov 6, 2013 | 11 comments

Some excellent advice from Antony Smith of Legal Project Management Limited, writing in Litigation Funding: “Generally, estimating is best done when based on historical data of previous projects which are similar to that at hand. Lawyers are lucky here, as their practice management systems and/or case management systems should hold this kind of data. … Ideally, the historical data used should be from cases the lawyers responsible for preparing the current estimates have themselves worked on previously. In the absence of that, lawyers should mine historical data of similar cases worked on by others in their firm. My advice would be to try and avoid any industry benchmarks – the whole point is to estimate the effort and cost it will take you and your firm to complete the matter.” I fear this is the least understood area of costs budgeting and will be, in the early days, where things most go wrong. Many of those preparing budgets will not be using historical data but will be using their “experience”. To mine historical data at firm level, let alone fee earner level, so the data properly fits the phases’ stage of budgeting is generally going to be a fantastically time consuming, and therefore expensive, task for which it will not be possible to charge. Even where costs firms have undertaken serious analysis of their historical data, this will often only produce industry averages. To apply this data to a new firm of solicitors seeking help with their costs budgeting is a recipe for...

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Part 36 offers in detailed assessment

By on Nov 4, 2013 | 12 comments

A helpful summary from the Senior Courts Costs Office Guide 2013 on the consequences of Part 36 offers in detailed assessment proceedings: “Either party may, at any time, make a formal settlement offer in accordance with Part 36. If the paying party makes such an offer and it is accepted by the receiving party within the specified period for acceptance, the receiving party will also receive its costs of assessment to the date of acceptance. If the receiving party does not accept and the bill is assessed at no more than the paying party’s Part 36 offer, the normal rule will be that the receiving party must meet the paying party’s costs of assessment, with interest, from the end of the specified period for acceptance. If the receiving party accepts the offer after the period for acceptance expires, the receiving party will normally have to pay the paying party’s costs from that point. If the receiving party makes a Part 36 offer, the paying party does not accept and the bill is assessed at as much as or more than that offer, the paying party will normally have to pay, from the end of the specified period for acceptance, interest at up to 10% above base rate on the bill as assessed, the costs of assessment on the indemnity basis and interest on those costs, again at up to 10% above base rate. It shall also normally have to pay an extra 10% of the bill as assessed (reduced to 5% for any amount over £500,000 and capped at...

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