The 2016/17 edition of the Costs & Fees Encyclopaedia has recently been published. It describes itself as the “comprehensive compendium of costs and fees for civil and criminal lawyers”.
This is a reference book entirely devoid of commentary and its value to potential readers can really only be judged by describing the contents. The book runs to 521 pages.
Pages 1-99 consist of the relevant costs provisions of the CPR and Practice Directions (Parts 3, 36 and 44-48 and a short section summarising the different J-Codes. You might describe these pages as “White Book light”. The book is described as “one handy, portable volume”. It is portable in the sense that any book is, but the bulky A4 format does not obviously lend itself to being something to take to court. I also doubt the average judge would find it helpful when asking where to find a particular rule if he is referred to the relevant page of the Costs & Fees Encyclopaedia rather than the White Book (or, possibly, the Green Book). In reality, this is a desktop reference guide. Whether, given the continuous amendments to the costs rules and practice directions, most readers prefer to use a physical book that may contain slightly out of date versions or check online is a matter of choice.
Pages 100-101 contain The Offers to settle in Civil Proceedings Order 2013 and The Recovery of Costs Insurance Premiums in Clinical Negligence Proceedings Regulations 2013.
Pages 102-103 contain the fixed costs for solicitors and public authority deputies in care proceedings.
Pages 104-109 contain the Guideline Hourly Rates for Summary Assessment back to 1999. Some geographical locations have occasionally moved band during this period but I do feel this information could have been presented in slightly more attractive manner (eg a one page grid).
Pages 110-126 consist of the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Rates: Extracts from the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013.
Pages 127-228 deals with Costs in Criminal Proceedings and includes:
- Extract from National Taxing Team Guidelines
- Extracts from the Criminal Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013
- Graduated Fees for Trial
- Graduated Fees for Guilty Pleas and Cracked Trials
- Fixed Fees
- Obtaining Payment
- Litigators’ Fees for Proceedings in the Court of Appeal
- Witness Allowances in Criminal Proceedings
- Part 76 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2011
- Costs Out of Central Funds
- Inter Partes Costs in Criminal Proceedings
I defer to those who deal with criminal costs to judge the usefulness of this section.
Pages 239-232 includes Motor Mileage rates, VAT rates and IPT rates.
Pages 233-436 covers an electric mix including:
- Civil Proceedings Fees Order 2008
- Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013
- Consular Fees Order 2012
- Coroners Allowances, Fees and Expenses Regulations 2013
- Court of Protection Fees Order 2007
- Crown Office Fees Order 2013
- Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2014
- Family Proceedings Fees Order 2008
- First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) Fees Order 2013
- Gender Recognition (Application Fees) Order 2006
- Immigration and Nationality (Cost Recovery Fees) Regulations 2014
- Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Order 2016
- Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2016
- Insolvency Proceedings (Fees) Order 2004
- Insolvency Practitioners and Insolvency Services Account (Fees) Order 2003
- Land Charges Fees Rules 1990
- Land Registration Fee Order 2012
- Legal Officers (Annual Fees) Order 2015
- Legal Services Act 2007 (Claims Management Complaints) (Fees) Regulations 2014
- Magistrates Courts Fees Order 2008
- Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order 2004
- Oath Fees Order
- Public Guardian (Fees etc) Regulations 2007
- Public Record Office (Fees) Regulations 2013
- Register of Presumed Deaths (Fees) Regulations 2014
- Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) Fees Order 2009
- Costs Out of Central Funds Material
This is perhaps where the real value of this book is to be found: the bringing together of such a wide selection of information in once source.
Pages 437-492 contain various case summaries from Costs Law Reports divided by topic. This is a section I struggle with. By way of example, under the “Proportionality” section is the following:
“Home Office v Lownds  2 Costs LR 279. The relationship between reasonableness and proportionality.”
As a reference/research tool, it is difficult to see the value in such an entry. What level of court made this decision? Has it been overturned and, if so, in which case? Have further rule changes rendered the decision redundant? What was actually decided? Other than laboriously reading this, and every other case referred to under the same section in full, it is hard to see how this assists a costs litigator wanting to discover the law on this issue or find cases to support/oppose a particular position. Brevity has much to commend itself, but there are limits as to how short something can be before it ceases to be of any use.
Pages 493-519 contain the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
Pages 520-521 contain a list of relevant court forms.
The price, a modest £65 including p&p for the print version or £85 plus VAT for the print and digital bundle.