Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in August, 2015

Listing Questionnaire fee

By on Aug 17, 2015 | 2 comments

The Civil Proceedings Fees (Amendment No.2) Order 2013 read: “Fees 2.1 and 2.2 [being the fees payable when filing a Directions Questionnaire and Listing Questionnaire] are payable once only in the same proceedings.” The Civil Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2014 has dropped the fee for filing a Directions Questionnaire. However, I can no longer see a note stating the Listing Questionnaire fee is payable only once. This issue sometime arises where there has been a split trial and more than one Listing Questionnaire was filed. In the past, if a claimant wrongly paid the Listing Questionnaire fee twice, there was no doubt the defendant would not be liable for the second fee. Is the omission of a similar note in the 2014 Order an...

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VAT and provisional assessment

By on Aug 12, 2015 | 8 comments

I’ve commented before on Regional Costs Judge Middleton’s view that the £75,000 provisional assessment limit does not include VAT. He expands on this in the White Book supplement Costs & Funding following the Civil Justice Reforms: Questions & Answers. “Q8. Does the £75,000 limit for provisional assessment include or exclude VAT? This is a purely procedural point. CPR 47.15 and its PD provisions describe the limit of £75,000 as being in respect of costs. The definition of ‘costs’ in CPR 44.1 does not include a reference to VAT – in fact, VAT is defined separately in the same rule. Accordingly, it seems that the £75,000 limit does not include VAT and refers to the total profit costs and disbursement sum.” CPR 44.1 is actually headed ‘Interpretation and application’ rather than ‘Definitions’. ‘Costs’ is defined as: “‘costs’ includes fees, charges, disbursements, expenses, remuneration, reimbursement allowed to a litigant in person under rule 46.5 and any fee or reward charged by a lay representative for acting on behalf of a party in proceedings allocated to the small claims track” ‘VAT’ is defined as: “‘VAT’ means Value Added Tax” It is actually rather a stretch to say this “defines” VAT. It does no more than explain, if it was not otherwise self-evident, what the abbreviation stands for. This section also defines ‘fixed costs’: “‘fixed costs’ means costs the amounts of which are fixed by these rules whether or not the court has a discretion to allow some other or no amount” I believe this highlights Regional Costs Judge Middleton’s error. There can be no doubt that ‘fixed costs’ falls within the wider definition of ‘costs’ even if it is also given its own separate definition. ‘Fixed costs’ is simply a subcategory of ‘costs’. Equally, ‘VAT’ is also a subcategory of ‘costs’. The definition of ‘costs’ is not an exhaustive list, it simply states some of the subcategories it includes. ‘VAT’ clearly falls within ‘charges’ in any event. HM Revenue & Customs’ guides use the word ‘charge’ in relation to VAT (eg “You should charge VAT at the rate of 20 per cent on any sales of standard rated goods or services that you make on or after 4 January 2011”). In any event, as previously mentioned, if I...

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Fixed fees for clinical negligence claims

By on Aug 11, 2015 | 14 comments

Another massive step in the direction of fixed fees across the board with the announcement the government intends to consult on introducing fixed fees for clinical negligence claims of up to £250,000, with it envisaged they will be introduced in October 2016. And there was people worrying about the introduction of a new bill of costs...

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Cost of drafting witness statements

By on Aug 10, 2015 | 2 comments

Mr Justice Warby in Stocker v Stocker [2015] EWHC 1634 at paragraph 63: “Witness statements are meant to be in the witness’s own words, and an assistant solicitor should be able to do the majority of the work”

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Nature of oral hearing following provisional assessment

By on Aug 6, 2015 | 4 comments

Interesting blog post from Andrew Hogan suggesting that an oral hearing following a provisional assessment is by way of a “review” rather than a rehearing, and that the court should not consider additional documents that were not before the court at the provisional assessment stage. The basis for this suggestion is the wording of CPR 47.15(8): “The written request referred to in paragraph (7) must – (a) identify the item or items in the court’s provisional assessment which are sought to be reviewed at the hearing” This is not the interpretation put on the rules by the authors of Cook on Costs 2015: “At the hearing the court will consider afresh the issues raised.” I seem to recall this issue arising at the Association of Costs Lawyers’ Annual Conference and the view being expressed that the term “reviewed” is not meant to be viewed in the technical sense of “review”, as used when referring to appeals, but has an ordinary meaning. As a matter of common sense, this makes sense. Different courts have different procedures as to what documents should be filed in advance of the provisional assessment. It would be odd if courts at an oral hearing were differently restricted as to what documents they were entitled to consider at an oral hearing where the rules make no such limitation. Nevertheless, this does appear to be another example of a badly drafted element of the rules. If an oral hearing was to be by way of an appeal, the rules should clearly state as much. Equally, if it is by way of a rehearing, the wording should refer to “reconsidered” rather than...

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