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.

New Member of Team

Neil joins after 9 years experience with another leading costs drafting firm where he gained considerable experience in both commercial costs disputes and personal injury CFA funded work. He is also widely experienced in attending detailed assessments both at the SCCO and county courts.

Review of Guideline Hourly Rates

The Civil Justice Council Costs Committee has released a synopsis of its second meeting which took place on 6 June 2013 to start work on its review of the guideline hourly rates.

The discussions centred on eight surveys, including the Firms’ Finance Survey 2011 and the Practising Certificate Holders Survey 2012. It was agreed that the work of the Committee should focus first on the four different groups of data required relating to expense of time, namely:

  • Grade of fee earner and region
  • Salary for each level offee earner
  • Chargeable hours perfee earner/region
  • Overhead costs, allocated per fee earner/region.

The synopsis said that using regularly conducted surveys had the advantage of allowing the benchmark for salaries, chargeable hours and overheads to be reassessed as those surveys were repeated in future years.

Having worked out the costings under these headings, the Committee will move onto the more sensitive task of factoring in a suitable profit margin. The Committee also discussed the possible availability of data from other sources,such as CILEX,the ABI and others.

The next tasks of the Committee will be to agree the contents of its own survey, and the method of inviting the submission of evidence from bodies such asthe LSLA, APIL, MASS, FOIL and NHSLA, and to consider ways of encouraging as wide a response as possible from solicitors’ firms.

The Committee aims to meet again in late July.

e-Petition Against Government’s Proposal On Fixed Recoverable Costs In Personal Injury Matters

An e-petition against the government’s proposals regarding fixed recoverable costs in personal injury claims has been created here. It closes on 28 November 2013.