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.