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Costs and Litigation Funding Newsletter - April 2019

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Upcoming seminars

We hope that you have received the invitation to our Costs and Litigation Funding Masterclass which will take place at our offices on Thursday 16 May 2019.

We still have places available, please email Laura Courbet if you would like to register. More details can be found on our website.

We will be holding another Costs and Litigation Funding Masterclass in October 2019, details will be shared with you in due course.

Fixed Costs – where are we?

The extension of fixed recoverable costs developed recently with the Ministry of Justice publishing a consultation paper, which can be accessed through this link.

The consultation paper is based on Lord Justice Jackson’s report on fixed recoverable costs from 2017. The consultation will close at 11:59 pm on 6 June 2019 and a response is expected in the Autumn.

We are pleased to confirm that Sue Fox has been approached by the Leeds Law Society (LLS) to lead its response to the paper. Sue will be supported by Andrew and the rest of the team and encourages feedback, ideas and general input on the consultation paper. Please feel free to contact Sue directly, or share your ideas through the LLS.

Please contact Andrew McAulay on 0113 336 3334 or at andrew.mcaulay@clarionsolicitors.com if you have any questions. 

The new Precedent R Budget Discussion Report

Amendments have been made to the precedent R budget discussion report; these changes went live on 25 April. The previous report has been amended significantly to now include 11 columns. Incurred costs are now included in the precedent R and offers continue to be broken down between phases; however these must now be further broken down between time and disbursements. Moreover, when the Judge is approving the amount to be allowed per phase, they are now able to state the number of hours and the amount of the disbursements. Surely this granular detail will create further arguments at detailed assessment, thus complicating the process further. This amendment has created some friction with the rules, as CPR 3, PD 3E, paragraph 7.3 states that:

“The court’s approval will relate only to the total figures for budgeted costs of each phase of the proceedings, although in the course of its review the court may have regard to the constituent elements of each total figure. When reviewing budgeted costs, the court will not undertake a detailed assessment in advance, but rather will consider whether the budgeted costs fall within the range of reasonable and proportionate costs.”

One welcome update is that the Judge is now able to include their comments in the precedent R; hopefully we may now encounter more instances where the Judge will record comments. We predict that this clarity will assist at detailed assessment in terms of interpreting the costs management order and identifying good reasons to depart from the budget.

The timings remain the same, the precedent R continues to be filed and served seven clear days before the case management conference, unless otherwise ordered.

Please contact Sue Fox on 0113 336 3389 or at sue.fox@clarionsolicitors.com if you have any questions. 

Solicitor Struck Off for “Excessive” Hourly Rates

In SRA -v- Andrew Good [2019] EWHC 817 (Admin) the Court held that Mr Good had acted dishonestly by charging an hourly rate of £400 per hour in clinical negligence matters. A full blog will follow shortly dealing with the numerous issues arising from this case. However, in summary the Court held that the rate was unjustified and that the application of a general rate of £400 for all fee earners was dishonest. Solicitors should ensure that they conduct a proper analysis of the case at the outset and prepare a written justification of the hourly rate(s) to be charged within the retainer, similar to the risk assessment in CFA cases, as a precautionary measure.

Please contact Matthew Rose on 0113 222 3248 or at matthew.rose@clarionsolicitors.com if you have any questions.

Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.