Masters goes international
London-based Masters Legal Costs Services has opened an office in the Cayman Islands to create what managing partner Philip Daval-Bowden says is the “first truly international costs firm”.
Mr Daval-Bowden, who heads up the new venture, explained: “We have been instructed in a number of large cases litigated in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands. As an offshore jurisdiction, the Cayman Islands have a sophisticated and thriving legal system with substantial commercial litigation involving international elements and large sums in dispute.
“This is the type of litigation in which Masters has always specialised. We have decided to offer a presence on the island to enable us to offer an improved local service to Caymanian law firms.”
He is now living on Grand Cayman, and returning to the UK for hearings and as required. “This is very much a considered and structured expansion of Masters to create the first truly international costs firm. This overseas development has been being investigated and implemented for a number of years. It is a personal adventure, but also a very serious professional commitment.”
Mr Daval-Bowden said there were no other costs specialists on Cayman or in the Caribbean generally; Masters will seek to offer services in those other countries too and will, in time, consider other regions for international expansion.
He said the costs regimes in the area were not that different from England and Wales: “On Cayman and across the Caribbean, most jurisdictions – as Commonwealth or former Commonwealth countries – have a CPR-based regime with between the parties costs recovery. The rules are similar to England and Wales with local variations.
“Masters’ Cayman office will be used to offer our legal costs services not only to the Cayman Islands but also, for example, to the British Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Bermuda.”
Asked who is running Masters back in London, Mr Daval-Bowden said: “Masters has 10 partners managing six specialist departments. I will continue to act for certain clients remotely and, in the modern workplace, you don’t need to be in the same office or the same country as your colleagues or clients.
“With this depth of expertise and experience, Masters is in very good hands – which is what allows me to concentrate on this unique opportunity.”
DWF Costs offers clients self-help tool
DWF Costs – the specialist arm of the international law firm that will shortly float on the London Stock Exchange – has developed a tool to help clients manage costs where it is not worth paying for bespoke advice, it has emerged.
DWF’s upcoming listing will value the whole firm at around £400-600m, and aims to raise £75m, which will be used for three main purposes: to repay a portion of partners’ capital contribution, to invest in operations and infrastructure, and to fund working capital for general corporate purposes as well as potential funding for future acquisitions.
The registration document submitted to the London Stock Exchange describes DWF Costs – which has nearly 60 staff across six offices, including 12 Costs Lawyers – as “one of the largest costs businesses” in the UK. It is a standalone alternative business structure created by combining DWF’s existing costs team with NeoLaw – the costs division of Lichfield law firm Keelys – which the firm acquired in July 2017. It is headed by well-known Costs Lawyer Simon Murray.
The registration document said that DWF Costs has “developed a predictive fixed fee cost tool to help insurers and other clients that have a high volume of low-value claims to analyse and determine a representative value for the claim or service in order to be able to assess a fair cost themselves for legal fees on these high volume but low value matters.
“This enables clients to manage and control their costs for legal fees on matters where it would not be reasonable to pay for DWF Costs’ individual advice.”