Legal Cost Specialists

Hourly rates under CCFAs

Many cases are still being run under CCFAs which define “basic charges” along the following or similar lines:

“charges for work done by or on behalf of Smith and Jones Solicitors, calculated on the basis of the hourly rates allowable for the work in the court in which the claim in question is conducted or would be conducted if proceedings were to be issued”

I take “allowable” to refer to the Guideline Hourly Rates for the relevant court. “Allowable” cannot refer to whatever hourly rates it might be possible to persuade a judge to allow at the conclusion of the case. This would create all kinds of indemnity principle problems. Neither can it mean the rates that another judge in that court once allowed in a vaguely similar case in the past. That does not make the rate “allowable” but simply “once allowed in the case of X”.

If that is correct, it means there is no discretion to seek rates in excess of Guideline Rates.

Secondly, what happens if the claim was one of those issued out of Northampton (CCMCC) County Court and settled prior to transfer to a specific court? Although it was a purely administrative matter that Northampton County Court was the named court, was it not being “conducted” in that court if issued or “would be conducted” in that court if not yet issued? If so, the rates under a similarly worded CCFA would be limited to National 2 rates.

6 thoughts on “Hourly rates under CCFAs”

  1. Why would the broader Interpretation of “allowable” create indemnity principe problems? “Work will be paid for by the hour at a rate to be determined by the court” gives rise to no issues of uncertainty, any more than, say, a lease which provides that rents will be determined annually by a nominated surveyor

  2. This is putting the horse before the court.

    The CCFA states that the hourly rate will be that which is allowable at the court. Which of course will be decided upon at assessment, if not agreed beforehand. It does not limit the hourly rates to the guideline rates for summary assessment.

    Provided you do not claim rates in excess of that which you have told your client I see no indemnity principle issue here whatsoever.

  3. these are the same “guideline hourly rates” which ALL Defendants state unswervingly do not exist or bind??
    so….if they do not bind, how can they rely on them to establish what rate they should have? Personally, Ill be offering £75.00 per hour from now on

  4. If I had a pound for the number of times I’ve see Union firms seeking the hourly rates based on where the Solicitor’s office is based and then trying to back up their justification for these hourly rates by wheeling out the case of Peel v Beasley…..

    They appear to simply overlook the terms of their own CCFA as pointed out by Simon.

    I think the issuing Court anomaly is overcome by the term ‘would be conducted’ meaning perhaps where the case would eventually be transferred to for the convenience of the parties, usually the Claimant’s (union member’s) local County Court.

    I too have been troubled for many years by the disconcertingly vague wording of the CCFAs where hourly rates are concerned.

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