News in brief – 21.11.2019

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Impetus for guideline rate reform

The recent ruling of Mrs Justice O’Farrell calling for a review of the guideline hourly rates (GHR) has “created a mood and perhaps an impetus for change that might not have been there before”, SCCO Master Jennifer James (pictured) told the ACL Manchester conference last week.

O’Farrell J said that the current levels were “not helpful” when deciding what reasonable rates should be in 2019.

Master James said the GHR were discussed at a recent meeting of the SCCO’s costs practitioners’ group meeting. There was “more of a move towards getting something done”, she said.

The master also suggested that paying parties actually did themselves a disservice by arguing for the GHR in cases where they were “clearly inappropriate”, such as those involving brain-damaged babies. In doing so, they lost “a golden opportunity” to give the judge “something helpful and to make me start thinking they’re at least trying”.

There will be a full report of the conference in the upcoming issue of Costs Lawyer.


Backing for Costs Lawyer interim suspension rule

The Legal Services Consumer Panel has supported the Costs Lawyer Standards Board’s (CLSB) proposal to adopt powers that would allow it to issue the interim suspension of a Costs Lawyer in serious cases.

Responding to the CLSB’s consultation on revised disciplinary rules and procedures, it said interim suspension orders would comply with Legal Services Board’s recommendations, “better protect the public and consumer’s interest”, and bring the CLSB into line with the other legal regulators.

The panel also backed holding disciplinary hearings in public and said it was “extremely supportive” of publishing the outcomes of the disciplinary process.

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Costs News
Published date
20 Nov 2019

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