The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 4) Rules 2015 have been published and come into force (with exceptions) on 1 October 2015. The amendments provide, amongst other things, for the provision of a “a breakdown of the costs claimed for each phase of the proceedings” to accompany a bill of costs in all cases where a costs management order has been made.
The purpose of the change is to bring the assessment procedure into line with the requirements of costs management, to enable instant comparison between the costs being claimed and the receiving party’s last approved budget. For the present, the requirements for the format of the bill itself remain unchanged. However, this is only temporary.
The Jackson Review EW?UTBMS Development Steering Committee, chaired by Alexander Hutton QC, is shortly due to make detailed recommendations to the Rules Committee for a new format bill of costs which will be “informative and capable of yielding information at different levels of generality“. A pilot is expected to run from April 2016.
In his recent Harbour Lecture, Lord Justice Jackson, said…
“The new scheme will work as follows. The J?Codes are designed to be compatible with commercial time recording software. Participating solicitors will adapt their time?recording systems by using the following codes. A number with J as prefix denotes a task (i.e. the subject matter of the work). A number with A as prefix denotes an activity, i.e. what you are doing within that subject matter. For example, if you wish to record your time drafting a witness statement as a result of an earlier meeting with the witness, you would select your Task Code as JG?10, defined as “Taking, preparing and finalising witness statement(s)” and then select your Activity Code as A103, namely “draft/revise”. There is therefore no need to select a Phase Code, only a Task Code and Activity Code as the Task Code always includes the Precedent H phase within it (in the above example, JG?10 relates only to Witness Statements). Thus all time?recorded work is assigned to the Precedent H phases. You can then additionally enter manually on the time recording system for that same entry as detailed a description as you wish of the particular work done, such as “drafting the Claimant’s witness statement, including…”
These are radical changes and practitioners are being urged to plan ahead in order that they are not caught out.
Other amendments include…
- amending rule 3.1 (court’s general powers of management) to make it clear that the court’s powers include hearing an Early Neutral Evaluation;
- inserting a new rule 3.1A making provision for the way in which the court is to approach case management in a case where at least one of the parties is unrepresented;
- inserting in Part 5 a cross-reference to provisions which disapply, or apply with modifications, provisions in that Part about access to court documents;
- amending rule 7.4 to ensure that the claimant not only serves particulars of claim on the defendant, but also files them;
- inserting a new rule 52.15B covering appeals in planning statutory reviews; and
- inserting a new Part 63A to introduce a new specialist list called the Financial List, to handle the more complex and important financial markets cases.