Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in March, 2021

Guideline Hourly Rate Consultation

By on Mar 31, 2021 | 1 comment

The Civil Justice Council’s consultation on Guideline Hourly Rates (GHRs) ends today. One of the questions put out for consultation was whether the N260 for summary assessment and the information provided in a formal Bill of Costs for detailed assessment should require the signatory to specify the location of the fee earners who carried out the work. This appears to have been prompted by concerns raised in the previous 2014 Foskett report into GHRs that firms were charging for work at their Central London office rates, while much or all of the work was actually carried out in regional or outsourced offices. The wording of any proposed rule change remains to be drafted, but it is difficult to see how an amendment requiring the location of the fee earners carrying out the work to be specified would only be relevant for work undertaken in a regional/outsourced office. A statement that all work was undertaken in the City would clearly be fundamentally inaccurate if 50% of the work was undertaken from a shed at the bottom of a fee earner’s garden in Brighton. It would also be illogical to require an N260/Bill of Costs to specify if work was undertaken from a regional/outsourced office but for there to be no matching requirement to make it clear if work is undertaken from a home office. The traditional reason for differing GHRs for different geographical locations is: At least in the case of City firms and, to an extent, Central London firms, the recognition that the work they undertake is normally of a more specialised nature than that of firms practising elsewhere. The overheads (such as office rental, cost of support staff, etc) will vary depending on the location of the firm. To the extent to which the latter of these applies when comparing the work of a personal injury firm based in central Manchester compared to a personal injury firm based in Skegness, how much more must this apply when the work is undertaken by a fee earner working from home with no office rental cost to the firm and, usually, much lower additional overheads? Home working, at least part-time, is not an entirely new phenomenon, but Covid-19 has pushed the...

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