News in brief – 19.04.2018

Government keen on more fixed costs, minister confirms

The government supports the principle of extending fixed recoverable costs (FRC), Ministry of Justice spokesman Lord Keen told lawyers this week, but gave no idea as to when a planned consultation on Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendations from last year would actually take place.

 Speaking at this week’s Association of Personal Injury Lawyers annual conference, Lord Keen said: “The benefits of FRC in civil cases are that they provide transparency and certainty for all parties, and incentivise the amount of work done to be proportionate to the value of the claim, rather than encouraging higher costs irrespective of the value of the claim.

 “Legal costs remain disproportionate in many areas of civil litigation and it is now time to consider the extension of FRC. The government supports the principle of extending FRC and… in light of Sir Rupert’s report, the government is now considering the way forward, including how best to deal with differences between types of civil litigation.

 “The government will consult before implementing any changes so stakeholders will have a further opportunity to express their views.”

  

CBA claims success in fees fight

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) has claimed success in a case involving the failure by the Legal Aid Agency to pay refreshers on two non-consecutive listed trial days when illness prevented the trial continuing with the jury. Instead, stand-out fees were paid.

 In her weekly message to members, CBA chairman Angela Rafferty QC said: “We are hearing complaints that this practice is on the increase. The CBA’s view is that this is contrary to the regulations. If counsel attends on a part-heard trial day expecting the trial to continue but juror or counsel or judicial illness etc frustrates progress, then a refresher is payable.

 “The Legal Aid Agency conceded this appeal the day before having seen the written submissions. In discussions with the costs master, he made it clear that he agreed with the CBA submissions and would have found in our favour.”

 Chris Henley, the CBA’s vice-chair, represented the CBA member on a pro bono basis.

  

Yorkshire Costs Lawyers to meet up

The next Yorkshire regional group meeting will be held on Thursday 3 May 2018. Members are invited to attend for a discussion on current costs issues, case law developments and the new electronic bill of costs.

 The event will be hosted by Clarion Solicitors (Elizabeth House, 13-19 Queen Street, Leeds, LS1 2TW), from 5pm, with the meeting starting at 5.30pm for an hour. There will then be an opportunity to network with other attendees.

 To reserve your place, please email Laura.Courbet@Clarionsolicitors.com

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Costs News
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19 Apr 2018

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