Window of opportunity to influence the hourly rates review

The committee reviewing the guideline hourly rates – which were last increased in 2010 – is set to issue a short call for evidence next month and it is vital that practitioners participate in the process, the Association of Costs Lawyers has warned.

The Civil Justice Council hopes to issue a call for evidence at the beginning of November, with a deadline of the end of the month for responses. 

See the full Litigation Futures article.

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