News in brief – 01.10.2020

Council calling for Costs Lawyers

Members should have received notification that the ACL is seeking nominations for the vacancy on council caused by Derek Boyd stepping down. The closing date for nominations is 4pm tomorrow. Please contact


ACL reminds solicitors about budget revision change

The ACL issued a press release yesterday to remind solicitors about today’s change to the CPR on budget revision.

Chair Claire Green suggested that it means the court was unlikely to look favourably on a party arguing good reason for going over budget without trying to revise it.

She said: “The rule committee is sending out a strong message with this change. Budgets are not rough estimates set in aspic at the time they were drawn up and only of limited use come the end of the litigation. Rather, they are living documents which parties are expected to keep up-to-date in the expectation that the sums in the approved budget are what they will receive in the event of success, however much they actually spent.”

Ms Green said the phrases “significant developments” and “promptly” were not defined in the new rule, and so a series of court rulings would likely be needed to bring some certainty to them.

“An earlier draft of the new rule said the application to revise should be made ‘without delay’, which indicates the way the rule committee was thinking. So we would urge solicitors to act conservatively at this stage and not take any risks.”


Changes to legal aid payments next week

The regulations that introduced two fixed fees for legally aided asylum and immigration appeals which were using the new online procedure to submit an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal will be revoked on 7 October, following litigation against the Ministry of Justice. Thereafter, payment for these appeals will be by hourly rates on a temporary basis, although the ministry said its long-term intention “remains a sustainable fixed-fee scheme, and so payment by hourly rates is an interim measure”.

Some appeals which have already claimed the fixed fees that are now being revoked and practitioners will be able to submit a claim amendment to be remunerated by hourly rates, whichever is more beneficial to them. This choice will also apply to any appeal cases which are open but have not yet been billed, where legal aid was granted prior to 7 October.

Also from 7 October, barristers will be able to submit applications for payments on account for civil certificated work three months from the date of the legal aid certificate and every three months thereafter. The cumulative percentage amount that can be claimed as a payment on account will rise from 75% to 80% as well, as part of Covid-19 support for the bar.

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Costs News
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01 Oct 2020

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