News in brief 22 December 2016

Rule committee approves SARPD changes

Further to our report last week on potential changes to the CPR following the SARPD and Qader rulings, the Civil Procedure Rule Committee has confirmed that it did approve the amendments. It is not yet clear, however, when they will be implemented.

 

CMA lines up work for the CLSB

The Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) is to be part of a cross-profession group of regulators tasked with implementing the recommendations of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) final report into legal services, which was published last week.

It recommended that the CLSB, along with the other legal regulators, should individually and collectively work on a series of measures to:

– Change “supplier behaviour on transparency”, such as introducing a regulatory minimum level of transparency on price, service, redress and regulatory status;
– Help consumers navigate the sector by upgrading and promoting the Legal Choices website; and
– Facilitate comparison between providers by making regulatory information available to the likes of comparison websites and assessing the feasibility a single digital register across all authorised professionals “combining relevant regulatory and customer-focused information”.

The CMA put forward a tight timescale on this work. It said that by 31 January 2017 an implementation group made up of all the regulators should be set up, and by 30 June 2017 both the group and the individual regulators should publish their respective action plans, stating the actions that they are pursuing and anticipated milestones in delivering those actions. Then, by 30 September 2017, it expected the individual regulators to commence consultation on any proposed amendments to their rules and guidance.

 

Appeal against prosecution costs order succeeds

The Court of Appeal has partially allowed a conviction defendant’s appeal against an order that he pay £2,800 prosecution costs, at £200 per month.

He was also sentenced to a 12-month community order after his conviction on one of two counts of voyeurism. The trial was a retrial. Mr da Silva had originally stood trial on two other counts, for which he acquitted, in addition to the voyeurism charges.

He argued that the costs order was neither just nor reasonable when taking into account the partial acquittals and his very limited means.

In R v Da Silva [2016] EWCA Crim 1939, the Court of Appeal agreed. It found that the figure of £2,800 came from a Crown Prosecution Service policy guidance document issued to prosecutors labelled ‘Application for costs against convicted defendants’. This sets out recommended scales of costs to be applied for after trial against a convicted defendant with the amount to be sought differing according to the complexity of the case, with this case representing lower complexity.

The appeal court ruled: “We consider that this order for costs cannot stand. In our judgment it was neither just nor reasonable. It may have represented only a contribution to the prosecution costs of the retrial but it did not properly reflect the fact of the appellant’s acquittal on one of the two counts, or the evidence as to his means and ability to pay.

“In the court below the investigation into these material factors and the consideration of the impact they might have on any order for costs, was not in depth.

“In our judgment, the proper order to reflect both the fact that the appellant was convicted on only one of the counts, and the evidence as to his means, would be one of £1,400 to be paid at the rate of £100 per month.”

That’s it for 2016

This is the last ACL e-bulletin for 2016. We will be back on 12 January 2017. We wish you all a restful festive period and a happy and successful New Year.

 

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Costs News
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09 Jan 2017

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