Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in May, 2014

Costs law – the judges speak

By on May 14, 2014 | 6 comments

Views from the panel discussion at the Association of Costs Lawyers’ Annual Conference: Master Campbell – late service of Replies, if they are helpful to the Court, may be allowed in. Master Gordon-Saker – Replies are “rarely helpful”. Regional Costs Judge Besford – Replies served late in provisional assessment cases might not be considered by the Court. Master Hurst – Replies served late could be in difficulties without an application for...

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Guideline Hourly Rates 2014

By on May 13, 2014 | 5 comments

A reliable source at the Association of Costs Lawyers Annual Conference suggested that any movement in the new Guideline Hourly Rates is unlikely to be in an upwards direction. You heard it hear first. Or second if you were at the Conference. Or third if you had heard this before the Conference and attended the Conference and have just read...

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Costs Lawyers' Annual Conference

By on May 12, 2014 | 8 comments

The Association of Costs Lawyers held their Annual Conference last Friday/Saturday and it proved to be another excellent event. However, I do sometimes wonder whether I was listening to the same talks as everyone else. A long list of speakers commented on the rosy future for Costs Lawyers. Topics covered included progress with the new bill of costs format and Mr Justice Ramsey hoping this would be introduced later this year. This is implementation of Lord Justice Jackson’s proposal, in his Final Report, that: “In my view, modern technology provides the solution. Time recording systems must capture relevant information as work proceeds. The bill format must be compatible with existing time recording systems, so that at any given point in a piece of litigation a bill of costs can be generated automatically [my emphasis]. Such a bill of costs must contain the necessary explanatory material, which is currently lacking from the bills prepared for detailed assessment. Crucially, the costs software must be capable of presenting the bill at different levels of generality. This will enable the solicitor to provide either (a) a user-friendly synopsis or (b) a detailed bill with all the information and explanation needed for a detailed assessment [my emphasis] or (c) an intermediate document somewhere between (a) and (b). The software must provide for work which is not chargeable or work which is written off to be allocated to a separate file.” Although it is clear this cannot actually be totally automated, it is equally clear that this will reduce bill drafting time by 70-80%. Dominic Regan reminded us that Lord Justice Jackson has recently mooted the possibility of fixed fees for cases with a value of up to £250,000. Then there were the comments that we are moving away entirely from an hourly rate approach to legal fees and there was no future for hourly rates. Of course, none of this may happen in our lifetimes. Just look at the Jackson Report that was kicked into the long grass and is quietly gathering dust somewhere long forgotten. But if even half...

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