- May 14, 2020
COVID-19 and the civil courts: must the show go on?
If there was a date on which the realities of how COVID-19 was about turn the life of the nation upside down, Friday 13 March 2020 has to be the best candidate. Earlier that week, Leicester City had played Aston Villa on the Monday (Villa lost 4-0), the following day the Cheltenham Festival had begun … Continue reading COVID-19 and the civil courts: must the show go on? →
- April 16, 2020
Set-off and enforcement in QOCS: different beasts in the costs jungle?
Won your case with costs? Good news, but what happens if you slipped up on the way and your opponent has succeeded in obtaining a costs order against you? That might have happened had you made a request to the court for permission to rely on an additional expert’s report, but your application to do … Continue reading Set-off and enforcement in QOCS: different beasts in the costs jungle? →
- March 12, 2020
Points of dispute: between the devil and the deep blue sea
When Kain Knight was in its infancy 40-something years ago, there were no such things as points of dispute. The protagonists would arrive for a taxation, as detailed assessment was then known, largely in ignorance of the arguments which would be raised. With nothing electronic in those days, the receiving party’s files would be lodged … Continue reading Points of dispute: between the devil and the deep blue sea →
- February 13, 2020
Indemnity basis costs: eating judicial humble pie
All civil litigation practitioners ought to know the difference between standard and indemnity basis costs. Whilst CPR 44.3(1) applies to both and provides that the court will not allow costs which have been unreasonably incurred or are unreasonable in amount, an important distinction is provided for in CPR 44.3(2)(a) and (b). Standard costs must be … Continue reading Indemnity basis costs: eating judicial humble pie →
- January 16, 2020
Part 36 offers in Part 47 assessments: all clear now so no reason still to be confused
In the 14 June 2019 blog entitled Part 36 offers in Part 47 Assessments: all clear now or still confused, the case of Horne v Prescot was considered in the context of the validity of Part 36 offers in detailed assessment proceedings. In Horne, Nicol J had decided that an offer to accept the sum … Continue reading Part 36 offers in Part 47 assessments: all clear now so no reason still to be confused →
- December 12, 2019
Fixed costs: can you contract out of the regime?
Fixed costs under CPR 45. The upside: the winning lawyer recovers costs in a fixed amount depending upon the stage at which the case has been completed, whether or not work to that value has been done. The downside: the lawyer does not recover any extra costs for doing work which the fixed costs do … Continue reading Fixed costs: can you contract out of the regime? →
- November 15, 2019
When is a “no win, no fee” agreement not a “no win, no fee” agreement?
Answer: when a claimant, who is a party to “no win no fee” conditional fee agreement (CFA) with his solicitor, dies before a “win” in litigation is achieved. In that eventuality, the “death” clause, which is a feature of most CFAs, takes effect: the CFA is terminated immediately and the solicitor is entitled to claim … Continue reading When is a “no win, no fee” agreement not a “no win, no fee” agreement? →
- October 11, 2019
Costs Law Reports Conference, 25 September 2019: conference cool down
Chairing a conference has lots of challenges, a number of which can be lost on delegates who attend only for the hours set out in the programme. The timetable tends to follow a set formula: coffee and light breakfast on arrival, an introduction by whoever is chairing the conference to cover housekeeping (no fire drill … Continue reading Costs Law Reports Conference, 25 September 2019: conference cool down →
- September 12, 2019
Alternative Dispute Resolution versus having your day in court: another round to ADR
“See you in court” was an oft-used expression prior to the implementation of the Woolf Reforms which involved the replacement of the Rules of the Supreme Court by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) with effect from 26 April 1999. With the introduction of the CPR, the intention was that there would be no more “firing … Continue reading Alternative Dispute Resolution versus having your day in court: another round to ADR →
- August 13, 2019
The chicken and egg of inquest costs: recoverable for attending, yes; legal aid to attend, no
The word “inquest” carries with its overtones of sadness. Before you can have an inquest, there must be a death, so the work of the coroner in investigating what has caused it will inevitably bring tears to the eyes of relatives and to those who have survived or witnessed terrible events in which others have … Continue reading The chicken and egg of inquest costs: recoverable for attending, yes; legal aid to attend, no →
- July 11, 2019
CPR 36.17(4): what is sauce for the claimant goose is not sauce for the defendant gander
Paying defendants constantly carp at the cost of litigation and at how much they are expected to pay when they lose. After all, if that were not the case and they paid up without a murmur, there would be no such thing as detailed assessment. Whilst the focus of their disquiet is usually directed at … Continue reading CPR 36.17(4): what is sauce for the claimant goose is not sauce for the defendant gander →
- June 14, 2019
Part 36 offers in Part 47 assessments: all clear now or still confused?
A party who wins with costs is in a strong position when it comes to provisional or detailed assessment under CPR 47.14-15. First, the costs of the assessment are theirs as of right without having to do anything: see CPR 47.20(1). Second, such a party can profit from the benefits available under CPR 36.17(4). Make … Continue reading Part 36 offers in Part 47 assessments: all clear now or still confused? →
- May 9, 2019
Ms Herbert and her insurance premium: disbursement or no disbursement?
To costs “anoraks”, the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Herbert v HH Law is likely to be one of the most important decisions of 2019, memorable for guidance about what constitutes “informed consent” by a client to the terms of their solicitor’s retainer. That is, however, to overshadow the tail-end-Charlie part of the … Continue reading Ms Herbert and her insurance premium: disbursement or no disbursement? →
- April 11, 2019
“Good reasons” to depart from costs budgeting: who needs them?
Question. What is the purpose of costs management including costs budgeting under CPR 3.12-3.13?
- March 21, 2019
Practice Direction 51X: another two-year costs pilot scheme
“Pay as you go” was a Woolf recommendation when the Civil Procedure Rules were implemented on 1 April 1999, following the recommendations made by the former Lord Chief Justice in his eponymous report in 1998. By that was meant that costs would no longer be payable only at the conclusion of the litigation. Henceforth, whenever … Continue reading Practice Direction 51X: another two-year costs pilot scheme →
- March 15, 2019
Solicitor’s costs: cutting out the middle man (part 3)
In claims by disappointed passengers against airline carrier Ryanair, consider these scenarios.
- February 14, 2019
Costs budgets and hourly expense rates: the rigmarole returns
Everything sorted: that is what appeared to be the case with solicitor’s hourly expense rates and costs budgets after Jacobs J gave his judgment in Yirenki v Ministry of Defence:
- January 10, 2019
“Old style” CFAs: the last hurrah for success fees?
It is almost six years since section 44 of the Legal Aid (Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders) Act 2012 (LASPO) was enacted on 1 April 2013, under which success fees in conditional fee agreements (CFAs) and after-the-event (ATE) insurance premiums ceased to be recoverable from opponents in most types of litigation. Exceptions were carved out … Continue reading “Old style” CFAs: the last hurrah for success fees? →
- December 13, 2018
Costs budgets: take what you can get: spend it how you like!
As we move into the tenth year since Sir Rupert Jackson signed off his Review of Civil Litigation Costs: Final Report, his flagship recommendation about controlling costs through costs budgeting bears repeating (Final Report: Executive Summary 6.10):
- November 8, 2018
Costs budgeting: both sides must play by the rules or else
Running an action in the multi-track worth less than £10 million but £50,000 or more and you are not a litigant in person? Your case will be subject to costs management under Part II of CPR 3 unless the claimant is a minor, fixed costs apply or “the court otherwise orders”. That means that not … Continue reading Costs budgeting: both sides must play by the rules or else →
- October 12, 2018
The proportionality roulette wheel spins again
Claim won with costs? It is not an unreasonable expectation in that case is it not, that there will be a guaranteed recovery from your opponent of the budgeted costs (those last approved or agreed insofar as you are within budget), plus a bit for the incurred costs? Consideration of any Part 36 offer made … Continue reading The proportionality roulette wheel spins again →
- September 13, 2018
Acting for yourself? What costs can you recover?
Acting for and representing yourself: to what extent will your time and trouble be recompensed by your opponent if you win?
- August 10, 2018
After Sanderson and Bullock orders, Jabang and Woodland orders
What happens when an injured claimant is uncertain about the identity of the perpetrator of the wrong and is confused about who to sue? One answer is to adopt a scattergun approach: sue everyone in sight and hope that within the cohort of defendants thus joined, the actual tortfeasor(s) will be ascertained and found to … Continue reading After Sanderson and Bullock orders, Jabang and Woodland orders →
- July 12, 2018
Conditional fee agreements and the sin of addition: no longer a sin
The indemnity principle is the kernel of costs recovery. A party ordered to pay costs is required to reimburse no more than the sum that the receiving party is liable to pay their own solicitors. If the contract of retainer between the receiving party and their own solicitor is unenforceable for any reason, then by … Continue reading Conditional fee agreements and the sin of addition: no longer a sin →
- June 8, 2018
Solicitor’s costs: cutting out the middle man (part 2)
In May’s blog, we featured the solicitor’s equitable lien following the Supreme Court’s judgment, given on 18 April 2018, in Gavin Edmondson Solicitors Ltd v Haven Insurance Co Ltd.
- May 10, 2018
Solicitor’s costs: cutting out the middle man
“Cutting out the middle man” is a well-known fact of life (making the expression gender neutral is more difficult). Whether it is selling your house privately to cut out the estate agent or disposing of your car through a private “ad” rather than via the local garage, opportunities abound to save costs by dealing direct … Continue reading Solicitor’s costs: cutting out the middle man →
- April 12, 2018
Challenging the executor’s charges: Mussell spikes the disgruntled beneficiaries’ guns
Mixed news. Your maiden aunt, Aunt Agatha, has died aged 92, but she has left the bulk of her wealth to you and the solicitors instructed by her executor to administer the estate have now completed their work.
- March 8, 2018
The electronic bill: counting down to 6 April 2018
Almost there! Getting on for a decade after Sir Rupert Jackson started work on his “Review of Civil Litigation Costs: Final Report 2009”, the electronic bill, which he recommended should replace the traditional paper bill of costs, is about to become mandatory in the courts of England and Wales.
- February 8, 2018
Hourly rates and costs budgeting: to fix or not to fix, that is the question!
But what is the answer? In theory it is straightforward. When the court is fixing costs budgets at a case or costs management conference (CCMC), the 82nd update to the Practice Direction at PD 3E.7.10 tells us:
- January 11, 2018
Part 36 prizes in provisional assessment: does CPR 47.15(5) prevail over Part 36.17(4)?
The scenario: the receiving party serves a bill for £75,000 and commences proceedings for detailed assessment under CPR 47. 6. In view of the sum involved, the bill is referred for provisional assessment under CPR 47.15 and Practice Direction (PD) 47.14.1. The bill is assessed by the judge at £72,000. Sealed offers lodged under PD … Continue reading Part 36 prizes in provisional assessment: does CPR 47.15(5) prevail over Part 36.17(4)? →
- December 15, 2017
After the event insurance premiums and proportionality: uncomfortable bed fellows, at least for the moment
Proportionality is a cornerstone of the Jackson reforms and was implemented on 1 April 2013 through changes to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) effective from that date. The problem is that the legal profession remains in ignorance for the most part about how proportionality is to be applied in practice. One thing is clear: costs … Continue reading After the event insurance premiums and proportionality: uncomfortable bed fellows, at least for the moment →
- November 10, 2017
When can costs be assessed? Remember to ask the question!
A simple question but one to which, until now, there has not necessarily been a simple answer. The starting point itself is simple. At the end of a hearing or a trial, the court can make a costs order directing one party to pay the costs of the other party. If the proceedings have been … Continue reading When can costs be assessed? Remember to ask the question! →
- October 13, 2017
Paying costs of the detailed assessment: is a Calderbank offer better than Part 36?
The trial is over. The case is won. The opposition is to pay the costs. The champagne corks are popping. The successful solicitor’s client is happy. But for how long? The battle may be over, but the war may just be starting.
- September 15, 2017
Conditional fee agreements: fallout with the client and count the cost: a warning from history
It is well known that one of our most famous judges, Lord Denning, stood up firmly against anything that might sully the “purity of justice”. Thus the concept of a lawyer sharing the spoils of victory with their client was complete anathema to him, since such an arrangement had the potential to put the professional … Continue reading Conditional fee agreements: fallout with the client and count the cost: a warning from history →
- August 15, 2017
QOCS and football pools orders: does Catalano answer all the questions?
Readers of a certain age, such as the author, will remember football pool orders. A losing plaintiff (as a claimant then was), whose personal injury claim had been run on legal aid, was protected against having to pay out any costs by the magic words: “order not to be enforced without the leave of the … Continue reading QOCS and football pools orders: does Catalano answer all the questions? →
- July 14, 2017
Mitchell madness on the march again
Former Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell MP’s foray into the hard fought privacy litigation known as “Plebgate” produced the most important costs case reported in 2013 (see Mitchell v News Group Newspapers). His libel action had turned on what he had (or had not) said to a police officer at the entrance to Downing Street … Continue reading Mitchell madness on the march again →
- June 8, 2017
Legal aid and CFAs: uncomfortable bedfellows? A view about Hyde v Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Trust
The legal maxim “hard cases make bad law” is attributed to US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes and has proved to be every bit as durable as its author (Holmes fought for the North in the American Civil War and retired from the bench 70 years later in 1932 aged 90!). In Hyde v … Continue reading Legal aid and CFAs: uncomfortable bedfellows? A view about Hyde v Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Trust →
- May 11, 2017
Plevin v Paragon Finance: what the Supreme Court did (and did not) decide about conditional fee agreements (CFAs)
The case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce is notorious in Dickens’ Bleak House for appearing to go on forever, and Plevin v Paragon Finance has a lot of Bleak House about it. This was originally a case about Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). Now it is one about costs.
- April 13, 2017
Merrix and detailed assessment: now Car Giant!
The first High Court decision following Merrix v Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has now been handed down, enabling this follow up to be written to the blog of 10 March 2017 on this subject: see Car Giant v the Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Hammersmith (judgment on 2 March 2017).
- March 10, 2017
Merrix and detailed assessment: business as usual?
Much has been written about Merrix v Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and the consequences it may have for the detailed assessment of costs under CPR 47.