The Legal Costs Experts

In January 2016, much to the dismay of many practitioners LJ Jackson advocated raising the fixed fee costs limit ten-fold to include cases with a value of up to £250,000.   At the same time, he published what has become a widely circulated table of four proposed bands of fixed fee claims, each with what could only have been described as meagre allowances.

In November of last year, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls commissioned LJ Jackson to lead a review of the fixed costs regime, to report by 31 July 2017.

Assisted by no less than fourteen assessors and having considered a wealth of data and evidence from barristers, solicitors and costs lawyers what are the recommendations? The key ones are:

  • Fixed costs on fast track claims up to £25,000 are probably appropriate and desirable.
  • The introduction of a streamlined intermediate track for monetary relief claims of modest complexity and value (up to £100,000) is to be achieved by restricting experts and limiting the number of trial days.
  • There should be a ring-fencing of fees of specialist lawyers in complex fast-track and intermediate track claims.
  • There is to be a pilot scheme with a cap on recoverable costs in business and property cases up to a value of £250,000 with cases being heard within eight months of the first case management conference.
  • The Civil Justice Council and Department of Health is to set up a working group to develop a new process for clinical negligence cases with a value of up to £25,000.
  • There should be limits on recoverable costs in judicial review claims in general (not just in environmental cases).

The report signals a major departure from what was being mooted 18 months ago and the full report can be found in full here.

Afqar Dean, Costs Lawyer and Director of Legal Costs

DeNovo | The Legal Costs Experts

Sir Cliff Richard v BBC and Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police (2017) EWHC 1666 (Ch),

Judgment 13 June 2017

Chief Master Marsh has warned that judges making a costs management order should exercise caution when commenting on pre budget costs. He also found that the percentage cap for budget preparation may be overlooked where work was required that was significantly out of the norm.

Harrison v University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust [2017] EWCA Civ 792

Judgment 21 June 2017

The Court of Appeal has ruled on issues of some general importance concerning the relationship between costs budgeting and detailed assessment, particularly the extent to which budgeted costs can be challenged at detailed assessment where they do not exceed the amounts allowed in the budget. However, the wait for guidance as to what might constitute “good reason” for departing from an approved budget continues.

‘Are my costs proportionate?’, ‘How much will I recover?’, ‘How much will I pay my opponent if I lose?’ All perfectly fair questions addressed to solicitors and to costs experts all the time. We should know the answers, at least in broad terms. After all, the concept of proportionate costs has been with us in one guise or another for approaching 20 years, and we are turning into a fifth year of the ‘new’ post Jackson proportionality test. Yet, like many of my colleagues, I find that the answer I give will depend as much on place and personality as it does on principle.

DeNovo - The Legal Costs Experts

Welcome to our Legal Costs Newsletter. We very much look forward to meeting with you and hope that you will consider attending our free costs seminar service which we provide in conjunction with leading costs counsel.

“Disproportionate” ATE premium slashed from £31,976.49 to £2,120.  Master Simons delivers an uncompromising reminder, to solicitors’ and ATE providers alike, of how draconian the new proportionality test can be.   In his judgment in Rezek-Clarke v Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust [2017] EWHC B5 (Costs), the Master distinguished the Court of Appeal decision in Rogers v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council [2006] EWCA Civ 1134.  A summary of the judgment appears below.

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