Heath calls for greater protection for Costs Lawyers
The incoming chair of the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) has spoken of his intention to push for statutory protection of the title and work of Costs Lawyers.
Former government minister David Heath was named as the new chair last month and formally takes up the post this week.
Mr Heath said: “My experience made the CLSB an attractive opportunity. Its effectiveness has improved significantly over the last 18 months, as recognised by the Legal Services Board, and my role is to ensure that the public is properly protected while regulating Costs Lawyers in a fair and proportionate way.
“We will not be regulating for the sake of it – only where it has a positive impact on the public and/or the profession.”
He described the work of Costs Lawyers as “vital to the operation of the justice system and law firms’ businesses”.
He continued: “We will be pressing the case for the title of ‘Costs Lawyer’ to have statutory protection, and for the work of Costs Lawyers to be reserved legal activities – moves supported last year by Professor Stephen Mayson in his report on the regulation of the legal profession.”
There will be an interview with Mr Heath in the next issue of Costs Lawyer magazine.
Costs firm expands to Newcastle
Costs firm Carter Burnett is to open an office in Newcastle this summer and is planning to hire “two experienced Costs Lawyers and a degree-qualified trainee”.
The office is headed by Seamus Kelly and Sean Linley, neither of whom are Costs Lawyers.
Director Lee Carter said: “We’re planning to appoint three new full-time staff before the Newcastle office opens to expand our team up there to five and cement our place as one of the leading names in the law costs industry.”
Costs budgeting hits the headlines
A costs budgeting hearing was reported across the media on Tuesday in the latest stage of the ‘Wagatha Christie’ dispute between Rebekah Vardy and Colleen Rooney, with the former suing the latter for libel for claiming that Mrs Vardy was the source of leaks about the Rooneys.
Mrs Vardy’s budget was reported as £897,000 – with estimated costs of £466,000 – against £402,000 for Mrs Rooney.
Mrs Vardy’s barrister, Sara Mansoori, was quoted as saying her budget “reflects the complexity, scope and scale of the legal and factual issues”, continuing: “Mrs Vardy’s cost budget reflects the very serious nature of the highly damaging defamatory allegation made against her – which continues to be published by Mrs Rooney.”
Mrs Rooney’s barrister, John Samson, said his client had described her opponent’s budget as “grotesque”.
Master Eastman said both budgets were “extraordinarily large” and gave the parties until June to file revised versions.