Posts by Kerry Underwood

  • Guideline hourly rates: are they now tramlines?

    It has been observed that guideline hourly rates are just that – guidelines and not tramlines; in other words the courts are free to depart from them. That view is now barely sustainable following a number of recent decisions, including two in the Court of Appeal.

  • Court of Appeal permission: CPR 52.30 revisited

    The Court of Appeal has very recently softened its approach to applications under CPR 52.30, effectively backtracking on two of its own very recent decisions. I first looked at this issue in my blog post, Appeals to the Court of Appeal after refusal of permission.

  • Part 36 strictly applied

    Two recent High Court decisions have emphasised that the Part 36 costs consequences will rarely be avoided. Nominal damages of £10 beat claimant’s offer of £1: full Part 36 consequences apply In Shah and another v Shah and another, the High Court upheld the decision of the County Court that the defendants should bear the … Continue reading Part 36 strictly applied

  • Client challenges to bills of costs

    Challenges under the Solicitors Act 1974, by former clients in relation to their bills, have been the subject of a number of recent decisions with informed consent being a key issue.

  • Guideline hourly rates: consultation, COVID-19 and offshoring

    On 8 January 2021, the Civil Justice Council (CJC) Working Group on Guideline Hourly Rates published its report for consultation on guideline hourly rates (GHRs). The consultation ends on 31 March 2021. GHRs have not risen since 2010 and the report recommends increases ranging from 6.8% to 34.8% depending on grade and location.

  • Civil litigation funding agreements: Part 1: contingency fee agreements

    Many general civil litigators are unaware of the range of funding options open to clients and lawyers in such proceedings, and tend to stick limpet-like to an hourly rate, win or lose, which is deeply unattractive to most clients, and is not necessarily the most profitable method for the solicitors either.

  • Insured’s right to choose own lawyer

    The issue of whether an individual who has before-the-event (BTE) insurance is forced to use the solicitors nominated by the insurance company, or whether they have freedom of choice to instruct their own solicitor, is a vexed one about which I get a huge number of enquiries.

  • Who regulates the regulators?

    Below I report the decision of the Court of Appeal in Flynn Pharma Ltd and Flynn Pharma Holdings Ltd v Competition and Markets Authority, concerning the circumstances in which a regulator who brings regulatory proceedings and loses should pay the successful party’s costs. This raises the wider question of whether regulators should enjoy virtual immunity from … Continue reading Who regulates the regulators?

  • Capped costs in business cases

    Here I look at three recent business cases involving capped costs, including the first two cases to be tried in the capped costs list pilot scheme and one in the Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court. Both are part of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales (B&PCs).

  • Costs round-up February 2020 (Part 3)

    Fixed costs ousted by agreement In Turner v Cole, a regional costs judge held that an agreement between the parties ousted the fixed costs regime.

  • Court fee remission (Part 2)

    Court fee remission process An application for help with fees, that is to avoid paying a court or tribunal fee altogether, or getting a reduction on the normal fee, is made on Form EX160: Apply for help with fees. The process for applying online is:

  • Court fee remission (Part 1)

    This piece does not deal with court fees themselves, but rather the principles and practices of court fee remissions and recoverability and so on, and the process of seeking remission.

  • Interim statute bills

    Normally a solicitor/client retainer is an entire contract; see Vlamaki v Sookias & Sookias:

  • Charging interest on disbursements (Part 1)

    There is no inherent right to charge a client interest on anything until a bill has been delivered. The simplest and cleanest way is to deliver a disbursement–only bill with the standard wording at the bottom:

  • Civil litigation summer round-up

    Transfer out of Shorter Trials Scheme refused In Sprint Electric Ltd v Buyer’s Dream Ltd and another, the Chancery Division of the High Court refused the claimant permission to transfer an intellectual property claim out of the Shorter Trials Scheme. The court was satisfied that it had power to transfer the case under CPR 3.1(2) … Continue reading Civil litigation summer round-up

  • Children, litigation friends and costs

    In Barker v Confiànce and others, the Chancery Division of the High Court considered the issue of costs orders against parties who are minors or their litigation friends. It held that there were no special principles preventing a costs order being made and that the court must consider all of the circumstances of the case.

  • Insolvency round-up May 2019

    Insolvency and Companies Court (ICC): new ICC Interim Applications Court On 25 April 2019, the Chancery Guide was updated to include a new chapter on the Insolvency and Companies List, including information, at paragraphs 25.28 to 25.30, on the operation of the new Insolvency and Companies Court (ICC) Interim Applications Court at the Rolls Building, … Continue reading Insolvency round-up May 2019

  • Liens: a never-ending saga

    Even though we have had 300 years of case law, there is still great uncertainty about the extent of solicitors’ liens, a subject which has become of much greater importance since the legalisation of conditional fee agreements and the virtual abolition of civil legal aid, as solicitors are now often acting on credit for clients … Continue reading Liens: a never-ending saga

  • Costs round-up March 2019

    Can amendment amount to discontinuance? In Galazi and another v Christoforou and others, the Chancery Master considered whether the very substantial amendments made to the particulars of claim amounted to a discontinuance of the whole or part of the claim, triggering the default position under CPR 38.6(1) that the discontinuing party is liable to pay the costs … Continue reading Costs round-up March 2019

  • Video courts: judiciary presses pause

    Opposition is growing to the government juggernaut of scrapping live courts, even for trials, with the judiciary in particular expressing its clear and certain view that austerity and cost-cutting, not access to justice, are behind the move.

  • Insolvency round-up: January 2019

    In Bayliss v Saxton, the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court held that section 285(3)(b) of the Insolvency Act 1986 did not apply to committal proceedings for contempt of court on the grounds of interference with due justice.

  • Notice of discontinuance

    Setting aside notice of discontinuance In Advantage Insurance Co Ltd v Stoodley (1) and Trinity Lane Insurance Co Ltd (2), a Queen’s Bench Division Master considered the law in relation to setting aside a notice of discontinuance.

  • Proportionality and non-financial matters

    In three recent cases, the courts have considered how to apply the proportionality test in CPR 44.3(5) in cases where damages are not the main issue, or where no damages are in issue at all.

  • Insolvency round-up

    New Practice Direction from 25 April 2018 The new Practice Direction on Insolvency Proceedings was published on 25 April 2018 and came into force immediately.

  • Part 36 roundup

    CPR 36 is the most important, and complicated, rule in the book, and so it is not surprising that there is a torrent of cases with major issues still unresolved. Here I look at no fewer than nine recent decisions at High Court level or above.

  • Conduct and costs: two recent Court of Appeal cases

    Indemnity costs guidance In Whaleys (Bradford) Limited v Bennett and another, the Court of Appeal gave guidance in relation to the correct test when considering indemnity costs. This was not in the context of Part 36.

  • After the event insurance: roundup of latest cases

    In Percy v Anderson-Young, the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court allowed recovery of an after the event (ATE) insurance premium of £533,017.13, overturning the district judge’s decision to cut it to £82,513.07.

  • Applications, injunctions, non-monetary relief and fixed costs

    Fast track In relation to the fast track, Jackson LJ proposes no change and the only suggestion, emanating from claimant representatives, was that there should be better provision for the costs of pre-action disclosure applications as recommended by the Court of Appeal in Sharp v Leeds City Council.

  • The new intermediate track: scope and procedure

    This piece does not deal with the costs figures; that is for another piece. As part of his Supplemental Report on Fixed Recoverable Costs, which will be considered by the Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls and the government, Jackson LJ has proposed a new intermediate track.

  • Fixed costs report overview

    Today Jackson LJ’s Supplemental Report on Fixed Recoverable Costs was published and is available here. This will now be subject to consultation by the government, and so these are proposals at this stage. Whatever comes in is likely to be on 1 October 2018.

  • Fixed costs pilot

    A voluntary two year capped costs pilot scheme for High Court cases valued between £100,000 and £250,000 is due to begin imminently in the London Mercantile Court and the Mercantile, Technology and Construction and Chancery Courts in Manchester and Leeds District Registries.

  • Fixed costs and offshoring

    The Master of the Rolls, giving the Lord Slynn Memorial Lecture on 14 June 2017, had this to say about the effect of electronic filing and online courts:

  • Fixed costs and the Bar

    It is accepted by solicitors and the Bar alike that, as fixed fees are introduced, solicitors become more reluctant to instruct counsel, on the basis that they feel that they are spending their own money, rather than incurring a disbursement, which is then recoverable from the other side in the event of success.

  • What will happen to the Prisons and Courts Bill?

    The general election has caused the Prisons and Courts Bill to be lost, as there was insufficient time for it to get through all of its Parliamentary stages before the dissolution of Parliament at midnight on 2 May.

  • Part 36 and fixed costs

    Practitioners will be familiar with the basic concept of Part 36 and the consequences that flow from that rule.