CLSB consults on changes to practising rules
The Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) is consulting on changes to the practising rules, which were last amended in 2014.
Published this week, with a closing date of 15 March, the consultation said there was “no evidence to suggest that fundamental reform of the practising regime is needed”. Rather, its review focused on addressing specific issues that have been identified.
Most are mainly administrative in nature, although the CLSB is planning to expand what Costs Lawyers have to disclose to the regulator on applying for or renewing their practising certificate. At the moment, in terms of regulatory sanctions, applicants have only to disclose an order under section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974, through which the Solicitors Regulation Authority bans non-solicitors from working for firms it regulates without its permission.
The proposed new rules would require disclosure of any disciplinary proceedings by a regulatory or professional body, as well as any adverse finding of a civil court or tribunal. “This could include, for example, findings of discriminatory employment practices or harassment of staff, which may constitute a breach of the Costs Lawyer code of conduct,” the consultation said.
Court of Appeal: Arkin cap is discretionary, not a strict rule
The Arkin cap is not a binding rule and judges have the discretion to order commercial funders to pay more than they have spent on a case, the Court of Appeal has held.
It said that the extent of a funder’s investment was not the only factor to take into account.
In Chapelgate Credit Opportunity Master Fund Ltd v Money and Ors  EWCA Civ 246, the claimant faced a costs bill of £7.5m and her funder tried to limit its liability to the £1.3m it contributed.
Mr Justice Snowden rejected this in a decision which was upheld by the Court of Appeal. Lord Justice Newey said there were indications in its ruling that the Arkin court was not attempting to lay down a binding rule, although equally he stressed that the Arkin cap was not redundant and could be the right approach in appropriate cases.
He said: “Judges, as it seems to me, retain a discretion and, depending on the facts, may consider it appropriate to take into account matters other than the extent of the funder’s funding and not to limit the funder’s liability to the amount of that funding.
“In the case of a funder who funded only a distinct part of a claimant’s costs, a judge might well decide that it should pay no larger sum towards the defendant’s costs.
“A judge could also, however, consider the funder’s potential return significant. The more a funder had stood to gain, the closer he might be thought to be to the ‘real party’ ordinarily ordered to pay the successful party’s costs…
“In the case of a funder who had funded the lion’s share of a claimant’s costs in return for the lion’s share of the potential fruits of litigation against multiple parties, it would not be surprising if the judge ordered the funder to bear at least the lion’s share of the winners’ costs, regardless of whether the funder’s outlay on the claimant’s costs had been a lesser figure.”
Call for ACL legal walk leader
The London Legal Walk – which raises funds for free legal advice services – is on Monday 8 June this year. More than 10,000 lawyers, colleagues and friends, with more than 100 judges led by the Lord Chief Justice, will walk the 10km circular route from the Royal Courts of Justice.
Organisers are calling on the ACL to enter a team. It costs nothing – walkers just have to raise as much sponsorship as possible and they are given a fundraising web page to enable this.
At this stage, the ACL is just looking for a team organiser. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.