Legal Cost Specialists

Posts by Simon Gibbs

Accepting offer after detailed assessment has commenced

By on May 29, 2020 | 0 comments

Can a “Calderbank” offer made during the course of detailed assessment proceedings be accepted by a receiving party after the detailed assessment hearing has commenced and once it has become clear that the receiving party will ultimately recover less than the amount of the offer?  Yes, ruled Mr Justice Morris in MEF v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust [2020] EWHC 1300 (QB). Various offers and counter-offers had been made during the detailed assessment proceedings.  These concluded with an offer on 19 August 2019 by the paying party to settle for £440,000 (the same amount as had previously been offered) with the following condition attached: “The Defendant’s offer dated 27/09/18 is only capable of acceptance subject to the agreement of the Defendant’s costs of Detailed Assessment incurred since that date.” It was not in dispute that this was not a Part 36 offer. The matter was listed for a three day detailed assessment due to commence on 17 September 2019. At the end of the second day of the hearing, the Bill of Costs had been reduced – as a consequence of concessions already made by the receiving party and by decisions made by the costs judge – to below £440,000.  Just before the end of the second day, the receiving party sent an email purporting to accept the 19 August 2019 offer.  The paying party argued it was too late for the offer to be accepted. The matter initially came before Master Rowley for determination as to whether the detailed assessment proceedings had been compromised.  He concluded that the matter was subject to common law principles of offer and acceptance.  As there was no time limit placed on acceptance of the offer, he held that the offer had been properly accepted. On appeal before Mr Justice Morris, it was decided that Master Rowley had not expressly applied the contractual principle of an offer being capable of lapsing after a reasonable time.  However, applying that principle to the facts of the case, where none of the earlier offers had contained a time limit, he concluded that the offer had not lapsed and was therefore still capable of acceptance. Although it was held that the prior offers were “highly relevant context”,...

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Guidance on remote costs hearings

By on Apr 24, 2020 | 0 comments

Guidance on remote costs hearings has now been produced.  This has apparently been produced by a group of costs professionals with the support of the regional costs bench.  It has been met with approval by the costs judges at the Senior Courts Costs Office.  The guidance can be found on the Association of Costs Lawyer’s website...

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Costs & Fees Encyclopaedia 2020-21

By on Apr 22, 2020 | 0 comments

The 2020-21 edition of the Costs & Fees Encyclopaedia has now been published.  This edition includes changes to costs and fees in the last 24 months including: Court of Protection, Civil Proceedings and Magistrates’ Courts Fees (Amendment) Order 2018 Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 Legal Officers (Annual Fees) Order 2018 Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2018 Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2018 Criminal Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2018 Public Record Office (Fees) Regulations 2018 Public Guardian (Fees, etc) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 It can be purchased direct from the publishers for...

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Costs training during lockdown

By on Apr 9, 2020 | 0 comments

Congratulations to all the speakers and The Legal Training Consultancy for managing to proceed with the Solicitor and Client Costs Conference last week. The event was live streamed over Zoom with the speakers giving their talks from their respective lockdowns. There were some inevitable comic moments with technical issues but, to be fair, most of these came from the delegates rather than the speakers.  (My tip for delegates at these conferences is to watch via a desktop computer with any microphone and webcam unplugged.  Anything else is just asking for...

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Remote working from home

By on Apr 2, 2020 | 0 comments

With much of the legal profession now in lockdown, attention has naturally started to focus on the use of telephone/video conferencing facilities to undertake court hearings, mediations, meetings, etc. Gordon Exall’s Civil Litigation Brief blog has been providing a large number of useful links providing various guidance on how to make use of this technology.  The natural danger with this is to believe this is largely a matter of acquiring the necessary technical know-how of Skype, Zoom, etc and understanding the appropriate etiquette (eg giving consideration to what will be seen in the background of your video call).  However, I have one word of warning: Scraps. For those of us already used to working from home, there is one thing that can be guaranteed to happen during a crucial telephone hearing, video conference with client, etc.  The guaranteed event is that the dog that has been happily snoozing at your feet for the past hour will suddenly hear the postman 200 yards down the road and start hysterically barking as though his life depended on it. Equally, you can also guarantee that the doorbell will go at a crucial moment.  Even if the dog is not already awake and barking, it will be now.  At normal times, and disregarding barking dogs, you might simply ignore the doorbell and continue.  These are not normal times.  If there is no one else in the house to answer the door at that moment, ignoring the doorbell is not an option.  It may be a courier delivery of papers with urgent instructions.  If you miss it, there is no way of knowing if, when or how you will be able to rearrange delivery.  Or, it may be an emergency gin delivery.  Either way, you will have to break-off to answer it. Four-legged friends are not the only peril.  Two-legged ones pose just as much of a danger.  You can explain to little Tarquin until you are blue in the face that “Daddy has a very important telephone hearing to deal with an application for relief from sanctions in the Chancery Division and must not be disturbed for the next two hours”.  But the moment Tarquin gets two crayons stuck up his nose, all...

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