News in brief – 27.07.2017

New election for the position of ACL ordinary council member

As one of the nominees withdrew prior to the close date for voting, it is necessary to run a new election for the position of ACL council member. 

Members have this week been sent new ballot papers via email. Voting closes at 5pm on Friday 11 August and all ACL members are therefore urged to vote again for one of the two remaining candidates – Claire Green or Oliver Horsepool.  Votes received in the recent election will not be counted.


Legal Aid Agency “met bills target”

The Legal Aid Agency met its target of clearing 90% of civil bills, crime bills and civil applications within 15 days, according to the Ministry of Justice’s 2016/17 annual report which was published last week. It was the first year of the new target, which was previously 20 days.

The report added: “We have continued to enhance controls and give a better customer service by making significant progress in digitising our services. In April 2016, we mandated the use of the Client and Cost Management System (CCMS) with more than 90% of civil applications now going through the system.

“This year, we saw the rollout of Crime Billing Online, a new digital service for billing Crown Court work, as well as the successful release of representation orders for criminal cases which are now being sent electronically and printed centrally for clients. This will improve the service for providers, clients and caseworkers over time.”


CA criticises failure to make part 36 costs order after late acceptance

A district judge had been wrong not to make the usual costs order following a personal injury claimant’s late acceptance of the defendant’s part 36 offer, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

According to a report of Briggs v CEF Holdings on Lawtel, “the fact that there had been uncertainty regarding the claimant’s prognosis was part of the usual risks of litigation, and the purpose of part 36 was to shift the risk to the offeree if he did not accept the offer. It was important not to undermine that purpose”.

The Court of Appeal said the offeree had to show that the order would cause injustice, but “it was not enough to show that it had been difficult to form a view on the likely outcome”.

The report recorded: “The decision in SG (A Child) v Hewitt (Costs) [2012] EWCA Civ 1053, where there had been difficulties in forming a prognosis following brain damage to a child, had applied the same principles and was a clear case on the other side of the line from the instant case where, as a contingency of the litigation, it had simply been hard to work out how it might go… Part 36 offers were made against that risk.”


Book now for Legal Aid Group seminar

The ACL’s Legal Aid Group is taking bookings for its all-day event on 11 September in London. With senior Legal Aid Agency staff speaking and running a one-to-one drop-in session, this is a chance for attendees to resolve some of their more problematic legal aid issues.

Confirmed speakers are:

  • Alison Pickup (Legal director) and Katy Watts (Solicitor) from the Public Law Project, speaking on exceptional case funding in family law
  • Carol Storer, director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group; and
  • Rob Damião, civil finance technical lead at the Legal Aid Agency.

Click here for all the details.

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Costs News
Published date
26 Jul 2017

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