News in brief – 21.03.2019

Call for new Council member

Members this week received an email seeking nominations for a new Council member to replace Iain Stark, when his term of office ends on 14 May. Members are invited to nominate themselves and the closing date for nominations is 4pm on 3 April.


Kain Knight in the City

Leading costs firm Kain Knight has expanded its presence in the City of London with the recruitment of Costs Lawyer and ACL vice-chair Francis Kendall (pictured) following his resignation from Masters LCS, where he was a partner in the commercial team.

He has now become a director of Kain Knight (City) Ltd, the newest part of the Kain Knight group. Matthew Kain, managing director of Kain Knight, said: “We see a great deal of continued potential in the London market and will continue to make significant investment in human resources, technology, marketing and business development to support and expand our business in that region.”

Mr Kendall said: “I am grateful for the unexpected opportunity and support provided by Kain Knight. We are looking to build upon both my reputation, and that of Kain Knight, to expand further into my areas of expertise. We are also keen to expand the team in London with this exciting new chapter in my career. It has been a privilege to have been contacted by so many clients and I now look forward to the opportunity to work with those who have benefited from my experience in the past.”


More Costs Lawyers working for solicitors

The number of Costs Lawyers working for solicitors’ firm continues to rise, new figures from the Costs Lawyer Standards Board have revealed. Some 41% were employed by solicitors in 2018, up from 38% the year before and 27% in 2011. One in seven Costs Lawyers (14%) was a sole practitioner in 2018.

The number of women in the profession is also rising quickly – from 35% in 2011 to 42% last year.

Other information from the most recent practising certificate applications included that 55% of Costs Lawyers do not handle any legal aid work, another figure to increase rapidly in recent years. One number going in the other direction is the proportion of Costs Lawyers who take out only the minimum £100,000 professional indemnity insurance – it has declined from 80% to 63% in the past five years.


Embrace capped costs, says High Court judge

Lawyers are wrong to fear capped costs, which could make a “big difference” to the ability of medium-sized companies to litigate, Mr Justice Birss said this week.

The judge – a member of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee – said that if the capped costs pilot for commercial cases in London, Leeds and Manchester proved a success, he would be “in the forefront” of those calling for it to be extended. Costs in the pilot are capped at a maximum of £80,000 for claims worth up to £250,000.

Speaking at the Legal Futures Civil Litigation Conference, Birss J said his experience of costs-capping in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court had shown that it removed the need for costs budgeting and could be applied to almost all cases.

“There are always exceptional cases, but they need to be really exceptional. The number of cases where the cap has not been stuck to is tiny.”

The judge said that when costs capping was introduced in IPEC in 2010, lawyers feared their turnover would be reduced. But in fact IP firms discovered that they could handle more cases.

He went on: “Costs capping, if it’s done in the right way, can make a big difference to access to justice for medium-sized businesses. They can afford to litigate and they can afford to defend themselves. That aspect of it, I think, is really interesting.”

Robert Wright, head of civil litigation, funding and costs at the Ministry of Justice, told a panel session later in the day that he expected the ministry to make an announcement on Lord Justice Jackson’s plan to introduce fixed recoverable costs for money claims worth up to £100,000 by the summer.

He added that work on a fixed costs regime for medical negligence cases worth £25,000 or less was “nearing completion” and would be the subject of a consultation.

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Costs News
Published date
21 Mar 2019

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