Legal Cost Specialists

Future of Costs Lawyers

By on Sep 5, 2014 | 28 comments

A Costs Lawyer was quoted in a recent edition of Costs Lawyer magazine as saying Costs Lawyers should:

“get as much experience and knowledge of costs budgeting as they can, as this will prove to be the main source of work for [them] in the future”

Presumably the logic of this is that we will get to a stage where receiving parties will know they cannot recover more than an approved budget and paying parties will know they cannot reduce costs below the approved budget. This will remove the need for bill drafting, points of dispute, costs negotiations and detailed assessment hearings.

The profession is in trouble if this is true. Costs budgeting can never replace the traditional income streams generated by costs work. If costs budgeting makes up the majority of the work that is left, then that is going to be a small pie to divide up between those still working in costs.

    28 Comments

  1. Given the recent case where the SCCO adjourned a hearing because the Bill for Assessment was not drawn to accord to the phases of the approved budget, clearly the CLown interviewed should get out more

    Anonymous

    5th September 2014

  2. I agree but it is likely to happen which along with increased fixed costs means we’re all doomed Mr. Mannering!

    Brian Varney

    5th September 2014

  3. Obviously the answer is for us all to become mediators. (cough).

    Anonymous

    5th September 2014

  4. As this was my comment, I feel I best make it clear what the logic behind it was.

    I based my comment upon the level of work that costs budgeting has created for my team. I don’t believe that costs budgeting will remove the traditional income streams as there will always be requirement for detailed assessment if items such as hourly rates are not considered at a CCMC but, like it or not, costs budgeting is here to stay for some considerable time.

    A costs professional will not get very far without gaining a reasonable amount of knowledge of budgeting.

    Neil Sexton

    5th September 2014

  5. There is no doubt that budgeting has increased work, however this will diminish when more Solicitors switch to suitable software. Systems that provide cloning capabilities of previous budgets , and standard templates will see budgets simply tweaked to suit the circumstances of the current case.

    Anonymous

    5th September 2014

  6. Anonymous @ 9.59am said;

    “Given the recent case where the SCCO adjourned a hearing because the Bill for Assessment was not drawn to accord to the phases of the approved budget”

    Citation/link/reference please?

    Anonymous

    5th September 2014

  7. Systems are only ever as good as the people using them…

    Y2K

    5th September 2014

  8. bring on the “suitable software”, it would be good to see many of the “big” firms out there limit their claims to what their system actually records, rather than what their draftsmen draw the bills at so they get over WIP recovery

    Of course, that then depends on what the solicitor actually records….

    Anonymous

    5th September 2014

  9. As we are told that the new model form bill may be at least 12 months away due to problems with the J codes and then it will have to be Piloted before being rolled out Nationally,
    I am not planning to retire my quill and ink just yet ! I am however intrigued how a Judge can order a bill to be in anything other than Precedent C. If it complies with CPR PD 47.5 (7) how can he demand another? More of a worry is Judges saying on CCMCs that if the case settles thereafter the Court will only be prepared to carry out a Detailed Assessment on incurred costs if the Receiving Party has not exceeded approved future costs ! I must have missed that one in the lectures I have attended .There may be troubles ahead …

    Ian Cosgrove

    5th September 2014

  10. @ anonymous 12:51pm

    apologies, it was RCJ Sparrow, it is not fully reported yet as I understand it, order made at first hearing resulting in adjournment for the bill to be redrawn to show the phases and the work incurred/estimated, to enable the budget to be taken into account for the DA

    Anonymous

    5th September 2014

  11. Ian, I understand that the new form of bill is now being rolled out in October this year

    Anonymous

    8th September 2014

  12. @ Ian Cosgrove and all

    have you seen the new Manchester “pilot” scheme for “provisional” budget ccmc’s in CAT cases, along the lines of PA hearings?

    see:-
    http://www.manchesterlawsociety.org.uk/2014/09/08/provisional-costs-budgeting-in-cat-claims/

    aside from the madness of a budget being decided provisionally (and there appears no financial limit, unlike ordinary PA’s) what future for CLowns indeed?

    Maybe their future is limited to promoting their own budget software, or commandeering the lecture circuit….

    Anonymous

    8th September 2014

  13. I received a bill recently which was drafted in a format similar to a budget. It was horrendous. It had approx 17 parts and 500 items (no exaggeration). The costs matched the budget figures, however, the bill was clearly padded out to this end. Hours spent researching unused experts and CVs, hours of funding time and generic file reviews. At DA, I would expect that bill to be reduced by around 40%.

    Anonymous

    9th September 2014

  14. “Anonymous” at 9.59am and 4.56pm (on 5 September):

    Did _Regional_ Costs Judge Sparrow sit at the SCCO?

    TimothyP

    9th September 2014

  15. Sparrow is Norwich I believe

    abcde

    9th September 2014

  16. @Anonymous 11.03am.Thats pre-supposing that the Judge that set the Budget lets you have a DA on anything other than incurred costs because the Receiving Party has not exceeded Approved Costs .

    Ian Cosgrove

    10th September 2014

  17. Clearly there is tension between the current PD to CPR 47.5 and the courts need to apply CPR 3.18 and therein lies a huge problem.Do you stick with the traditional. style and possibly face the wrath of a Costs Judge for failing to address CPR 3.18 .
    Drafting a Bill which has not been subject to phase by phase time recording will be a long winded dogs breakfast of an exercise especially in Comm Lit matters where time is often block recorded.The amount of time required to draft a large complex Bill I’m multiple Parts will increase significantly

    Anonymous

    10th September 2014

  18. I have been saying for a long time the in large complex matters the fees for drafting are going to increase exponentially

    Imagine phase splits with vat splits and then variable percentage hourly rates to be applied

    Oh and then there is the increased time estimate for DA. Not like the courts are already drowning

    abcde

    10th September 2014

  19. abcde

    “fees for drafting are going to increase exponentially” this increase will not be a cost recoverable between the Parties, as far as the Court is concerned the “push a button and out comes a bill” scenario will be a reality once the J codes are bedded in.

    Anonymous

    10th September 2014

  20. WOW the ACL have actually released news that that the J Codes have been approved , at least a week after the news was known – They are getting better….

    Anonymous

    11th September 2014

  21. Push a button bill?

    My short answer – dream on

    abcde

    11th September 2014

  22. I should qualify that I appreciate that your comment was as to the court’s perception but the reality is it will not and cannot be a push button scenario

    abcde

    11th September 2014

  23. Take great delight in this being the thread that got me banned / censored!

    Bill Fay

    11th September 2014

  24. seen the J codes

    solicitors are expected to reliably use these?? They currently cant even record the real time it takes them to do something on a standardised time note!

    how many are actually going to admit to anything as funding or admin??

    also, why have bills at all? the release statement indicates it is also to assist paying parties in assessing the costs – so are the time records just going to be printed out and handed over? that will make very interesting reading, given the remarkable resistance certain drafting firms have to any such request for disclosure (Stables v City of York, anyone?)

    Anonymous

    11th September 2014

  25. Ahhh stables

    It’s amazing that was never pushed further. Perhaps because it was a nonsense decision

    abcde

    11th September 2014

  26. I fear that the ACL are dealing with the implementation of J Codes and new format bill similary to how the Law Society have dealt with the Jackson Reforms and the Lord Chancellor.

    See the following link from the ACL in particular paragraph 6, comforting ?

    Does the ACL members agree to J Codes ?

    I know that its Chairperson does:-
    http://omniasoftware.co.uk/support-and-development/
    http://omniasoftware.co.uk/about-us/

    And as for the drafting team for the Jackson Review EW-UTBMS Code Set Development Project, half of the team work for one company.

    Insomnia

    11th September 2014

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