The new Fourth Edition of Friston on Costs has now been published.
In what must be one of the biggest shocks to the world of costs in recent years, the new edition has dramatically shrunk in size. It is noticeably thinner and lighter. However, this is little more than an optical illusion. Although the page count remains almost identical to the previous edition, the font size has been reduced and it is printed on much thinner paper (something closer to the White Book). Nevertheless, the actual contents have significantly increased.
Welcome though the more portable hardcopy version is, my tip (as the hardcopy still weighs more than a brick) is to also purchase the ebook version (at virtually no additional cost) and have this on your laptop/tablet for taking to court.
In the run up to publication, the Editor (as Mark Friston modestly refers to himself as given the contribution of others to the writing) provided a fun quiz from which we learn that over 21,500 hours have been spent writing the four different editions. On the assumption that Mark can possibly command a London 2, Grade D Guideline Hourly Rate of £139, by my maths (and never trust the arithmetic of a Costs Lawyer) this equates to almost £3,000,000 of lost billable time that he would have had no difficulty filling with paid instructions. Speculating wildly, it may be possible that such a well-respected specialist costs counsel might have been able to command a significantly higher hourly rate. The lost fees are enough to make even the most impartial of observers weep. Herein lies the massive debt of gratitude we all owe to the Herculean (or should that be Sisyphean?) task that this work represents. Given the book is priced at such a ludicrously low level that it can barely cover production costs, there can be no question of any lost fees being recovered by way of massive royalty cheques.
As well as covering normal developments in case law since the 2018 edition, expanded sections include the costs of inquests, cost estimates, guarantees, indemnities and the Chorley exception.
As with any attempt to publish a book that is as up-to-date with the law as possible, the law itself conspired to put a spanner in the works with the decision in Belsner being handed down close to completion, causing a pause in publication. The majority of the law is therefore stated as it was mid-2022 (at the point of the pause) but with the full ramifications of Belsner being slipped in and fully covered.
Currently available directly from the publishers at a heavy discount on the already very low price: Friston on Costs (book and digital pack) – Hardback – Mark Friston – Oxford University Press (oup.com).
This book remains essential reading, not only to every costs practitioner, but to every lawyer. The bible of the legal costs world is back, bigger (if slimmer) and better than ever.