National Conference booking now open
Bookings for the ACL’s National Conference are open. It takes place on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 October 2017 at the Park Plaza London Riverbank Hotel.
With budgeting, fixed costs and the new bill of costs under the spotlight, this year’s event promises to be the biggest and most important yet.
Lord Justice Jackson will be giving the keynote speech, while the all-star line-up also includes Senior Costs Judge Andrew Gordon-Saker, Master Jennifer James, District Judge Ian Besford, Master Victoria McCloud, District Judge Christopher Lethem, Professor Dominic Regan, Nick Bacon QC, PJ Kirby QC, Vikram Sachdeva QC, Andrew Post QC and Dr Mark Friston.
On the Saturday, there will be an open forum for ACL members.
Members who book by 22 September will receive a 30% discount on tickets, while no bookings will be accepted after 6 October.
For all the details and to book, click here.
Bar Pro Bono Unit seeks Costs Lawyer
The Bar Pro Bono Unit has been in touch with the ACL to find a Costs Lawyer who can assist one of its applicants, whose lengthy employment tribunal proceedings resulted in high costs.
The unit said the client has limited financial means and suffers from mental health disability of depression. They need assistance with preparing formal points of dispute to challenge the costs claimed by the other side.
It is estimated that it would take around four hours to prepare formal points of dispute. The matter should be dealt with by way of provisional assessment.
The appeal deadline is 18 September 2017. Contact Diane Pattenden in the ACL Office in the first instance: firstname.lastname@example.org
New LAA portal goes live
The Legal Aid Agency issued a warning on Monday that all users should now be using the link to the new LAA Online Portal.
This will be needed to access the new Portal for the Client and Cost Management System, Contracted Work and Administration, Crown Court Litigator Fee online, Management Information and eForms.
The agency said the upgrade should lead to increased stability, quicker log-in times, a more user-friendly password reset process and a status bar for all applications, providing up-to-date information on any issues affecting performance.
HOPOs “cannot be made subject” to wasted costs orders
The First-tier Tribunal does not have the power to make wasted costs orders against Home Office presenting officers who appear in immigration and asylum cases, the Upper Tribunal has ruled.
Mr Justice McCloskey, president of the Upper Tribunal, said because they were not professional advocates and have no rights of audience, it was clear that, under section 29 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, they did not fall within the wasted costs jurisdiction.
In Awuah and Ors (Wasted Costs Orders – HOPOs – Tribunal Powers: Ghana) (Rev 1)  UKFTT 555 (IAC), he observed: “Section 29 was devised during an era when regulation of the legal professions had become a hot topic. Successive legislatures had paid particular attention to the legal professions, professional advocates and regulators. We consider that unequivocal statutory language would have been required in order to bring HOPOs within the scope of section 29(5) and (6). There is none.
“On the contrary, there is discernible in these provisions, considered in both their narrow and broader contexts, a clear underlying intention to subject professional advocates only to the risk of a [wasted costs order].”