News in brief 24 November 2016

Stark named among Jackson’s assessors

ACL chairman Iain Stark has been named as one of 14 assessors to work alongside Lord Justice Jackson on his review of fixed recoverable costs. Other well-known costs law figures in the group include Nick Bacon QC, one of four practising barristers, the Senior Costs Judge, Master Gordon-Saker, and District Judge Simon Middleton, whose strong views have been aired at several ACL conferences.

There are three practising solicitors – most notably former Association of Personal Injury Lawyers president David Marshall – alongside other judges and academics.


Burke joins Practico

Former ACL council member Deborah Burke has joined costs consultancy Practico as managing associate, with a brief to support and strengthen client relationships. Ms Burke, who is a founding director of Attain Costs where she still has an operational role, is also currently chair of the Law Society’s civil litigation section committee and a member of the Society’s civil justice section committee.

Practico managing director Andy Ellis said: “Deborah’s appointment makes complete sense. We share a passion for the effective use of technology in costs management and want to make costs information more transparent to decision-makers.

“We have worked together for many years and the whole team at Practico is very excited to welcome Deborah to the firm. Deborah joining allows the senior management team to focus on service delivery to maximise the value of our service to our clients.”


CLAF survey launched

The Law Society, Bar Council and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives have launched an online survey about the viability of a contingent legal aid fund (CLAF), and some of the key policy issues behind it, such as whether it should compete with other current funding methods or simply seek to plug gaps in funded litigation in the market.

The trio set up a joint working party earlier this year at the urging of Lord Justice Jackson. The aim is to see whether a CLAF is a worthwhile option to complement existing forms of litigation funding, with the objective of providing access to justice at lower cost and/or in ways not yet provided for by other means.

However, in a statement last week, the working party said its initial findings were that substantial seed funding would be required, as would a rigorous merits test, funding of low-value cases would be problematic and administrative costs could be prohibitive unless the CLAF were run by an established organisation or litigation funder.

The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. It will close on 9 January 2017. Click here to take part. Any more detailed ideas can be routed through the ACL – contact policy officer Claire Green and Legal Aid Group chairman Paul Seddon through the office.


Autumn Statement hands legal support tax boost to employees

A small change announced in the full Autumn Statement document yesterday said that from April 2017, all employees called to give evidence in court will no longer need to pay tax on legal support from their employer. “This will help support all employees and ensure fairness in the tax system, as currently only those requiring legal support because of allegations against them can use the tax relief,” it said.

This post was posted in ACL e-Bulletin

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Costs News
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24 Nov 2016

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