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:
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?
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):
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
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
Acting for and representing yourself: to what extent will your time and trouble be recompensed by your opponent if you win?
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
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
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.
“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 Solicitors’ costs: cutting out the middle man
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.
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.
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:
Since the introduction of costs budgeting in the amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) in April 2013, there has been something of a quandary in relation to how best and when to revise one’s costs budget upon a significant development after the advent of a costs management order.
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)?
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
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!
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.
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
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?
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
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
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.
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).
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.
Some of the more worrying changes that lie ahead for litigators in 2017 are Jackson LJ’s review of the extension of fixed recoverable costs and the potential increase in the small claims limit. However, the new spread sheet based bill of costs is particularly noteworthy.