The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013

The Ministry of Justice has published the draft Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013, which comes into force on 1st April 2013. Transitional provisions have been included to make clear that the 25% cap on the success fee that lawyers can take from personal injury clients’ damages, excluding those for future care and loss, does not apply to CFAs entered into before 1st April, but only if:

(a) the agreement was entered into specifically for the purposes of the provision to a person (“P”) of advocacy or litigation services in connection with the matter which is the subject of the proceedings; or

(b) advocacy or litigation services were provided to P under the agreement in connection with those proceedings before that date. 

New Member of Team

We are pleased to welcome to the team our newest recruit, James Wilson, who joins us as a trainee.

Civil Justice Council publishes its synopsis of the 3rd costs committee meeting


The Civil Justice Council has published its synopsis of the 3rd costs committee meeting, which was held on 25th July 2013. The 14 strong committee, chaired by Mr Justice Foskett, is tasked with…

  • Conducting a comprehensive, evidence-based review on the nature of the Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR) in order to make recommendations to the Master of the Rolls by January 2014;
  •  Reviewing the GHR on an annual basis in order to make recommendations to the Master of the Rolls regarding how they need to be updated; and
  •  Monitoring the operation of the costs rules, in consultation with the Ministry of Justice, and where appropriate, making recommendations.

The Committee then went on to discuss the statistical validity of the information it ha gathered so fa, and the ways in which it required supplementing. It concluded that further information was required on:

Overheads

A finer breakdown of overheads in order to assess what was reasonable.

Additional costs

Further data on the additional costs incurred by firms on National Insurance, pensions and other benefits.

Realisation rate

Further data on the proportion of hours worked and recovered by firms (rather than the proportion of the bill).

Regional breakdown

Further data from some regions in England and Wales and in order to sub?divide the data relating to London.

Trainees

More data was needed on Band D generally.

Profit

It was suggested that the available data might be cross?checked with similar professions. The Committee discussed how and to what extent it should challenge the breakdown that seemed to be emerging: that something in the region of a third of a firm’s income was accounted for by salaries, overheads and profit.

Find the full synopsis here.

Chaos ahead warns the president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association

The president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association, Francesca Kaye, has said that the absence of rules, regulations and practice directions with just 10 weeks to go before implementation of the Jackson reforms is “wholly unacceptable” and threatens to tip the civil litigation system into chaos.

Ms Kaye predicted that the delay in publishing the rules and practice directions, lack of IT and administrative resources in court and lack of time for the judiciary to get up to speed was adding up to “a perfect storm where the current crisis would be tipped into chaos”. Read the full Litigation Futures article here.

Consultation: Reform of civil litigation funding and costs in England and Wales

This MoJ is seeking views on implementing a package of Lord Justice Jackson’s proposals for reforming conditional fee agreements and other aspects of civil litigation funding and costs.

The consultation closes on Monday 14 February 2011

Sir Vivian Ramsey named ACL honorary president

Sir Vivian Ramsey, the judge leading the implementation of the Jackson Reforms, is to become the new Honorary President of the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL). Mr Justice Ramsey will take up his post with immediate effect for a period of three years.

He replaces renowned Costs Lawyer Michael Bacon, who retired in May.

Sir Vivian Ramsey will work closely with the ACL’s chairman, Murray Heining, to promote the role of Costs Lawyers and support the activities of the ACL in the post-Jackson era.

Mr Justice Ramsey said:

“I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to become the ACL’s Honorary President. These are challenging times for the members of the ACL as they deal with the impact of the Jackson reforms. I am sure that my involvement with them will be of mutual benefit as the reforms are implemented.”

Murray Heining, chairman of the ACL, said:

“It is real honour for the ACL to have someone of Mr Justice Ramsey’s status working with us and is recognition of how far the ACL has come. The costs landscape has changed dramatically in the past year; the need for expert advice is greater than ever as solicitors get to grips with the Jackson reforms, and particularly with preparing budgets, so it is essential that we continue to ensure the profession puts the recovery of their costs in the hands of regulated and qualified people.” 

Dramatic climbdown from Grayling as portal extension is delayed

In a dramatic climbdown, the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling has agreed that extension of the RTA portal to higher-value motor and employer’s and public claims will now not happen in April 2013.

Read the full Litigation Futures article here.

New Member of Team

We are pleased to announce a new member to the team, Tom Winyard. Tom has been the costs manager of a well established law firm for the past 10 years and brings with him an extensive knowledge and experience of all civil litigation matters. He is a Fellow of the Association of Law Costs Draftsman and shortly anticipates becoming a full Costs Lawyer.

Costs Management Consultation

The Civil Procedure and Rules Committee have launched a public consultation into costs budgeting and costs management.

A sub-committee chaired by Coulson J will meet on 10 and 16 July 2013 to consider:

  • the desirability of retaining the Admiralty and Commercial Courts’ blanket exception to the mandatory requirement to produce costs budgets at CPR Part 3.12(1)
  • the current value-based exception for the TCC, the Chancery Division and the Mercantile Courts; and
  • whether or to what extent Part 8 claims (including Judicial Review) should be excluded from the mandatory costs budgeting regime.

The sub-committed will also consider whether any other claims currently within the mandatory costs budgeting regime should be exempted. The aim is to produce a new definitive rule for inclusion in the CPR to replace the existing rule 3.12(1) with its reference to exemptions from mandatory costs budgeting as defined in directions made by the President of the Queen’s Bench Division and the Chancellor of the High Court.

Particiapation is invited and the closing date for written representations is 20 July 2013.

See the Consultation Paper.

Small claims limit for RTA claims set to increase?

The government has today finally unveiled its long-awaited consultation paper on increasing the small claims limit for road traffic personal injury cases from £1,000 to £5,000.