Tributes to Michael Bacon have poured in after one of the great figures of the costs profession – and former president of the ACL – passed away on Monday at the age of 81.
He spent many years on what was the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen’s council and was a strong advocate for the grant of rights of audience for what became Costs Lawyers.
ACL chair Claire Green said: “It was with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Michael Bacon. Michael was a pre-eminent figure in the world of costs and he will be sorely missed by his family, friends and professional colleagues.”
Michael read law for three years at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He initially went into the world of business but, 15 years later, he retrained in legal costs. He started his own costs consultancy firm in 1971, which in 2003 became A&M Bacon Limited. He and his wife Alison ran the firm until 2011 when they both retired from full-time practice. Michael continued with A&M Bacon as a consultant.
A speaker all over the country and co-creator of the Costs Law Reports with Peter Rogers, Michael was an editor and author of a number of other publications, including Greenslade on Costs and The Legal Aid Practice.
Caroline Cousins, a Costs Lawyer and civil team deputy leader at A&M Bacon, spoke about how he “loved his work and continued to be involved in the business”.
She said: “Michael was one of the ‘giants’ of the costs world. I have heard various nicknames for him over the years, such as costs guru, deity and chief, all of which probably do not do him full justice. He was a greatly skilled Costs Lawyer, able to deal with all kinds of unusual costs disputes, a huge knowledge and knack for remembering an old case or unusual provision that others may overlook.
“He left a lasting impression when he met people, mainly that he was a proper old-fashioned gentleman, and I think everyone will remember him very fondly and with kindness. Michael always had time to listen, his advice and judgement were invaluable, and he really cared for everyone.”
Ms Cousins recounted how Michael could always make her smile and laugh and he had a “brilliant sense of humour”, having a comedian appear at his birthday parties. He also loved horse and greyhound racing, “and the finer side of life”.
She went on: “I know that Michael has been instrumental in not only my career but in many others in the profession, and I am sure that many people will have learnt from him over the years, through his talks, dealing with cases involving him, his work on the council and so forth.
“To say that Michael was very well liked and respected – personally and professionally – would be an understatement. He truly was a great man who will be missed greatly, by me personally and by all at A&M Bacon.
“My thoughts are with his wife Alison, his twin sons Nick and Simon, his four grandchildren and other family, friends, and to all that knew and loved him.”
There were many tributes posted on Twitter and LinkedIn. These are a few of them:
Costs firm Harmans tweeted: “We at Harmans are greatly saddened to learn that our friend Michael Bacon has passed away. Michael was the standard that costs draftsmen/Costs Lawyers strived to achieve. Please remember his wife Alison, son Nicholas and extended family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Joanna Murphy, Costs Lawyer and director at Squires Costs, tweeted: “So sad to hear this. Michael was an absolute gentleman, justifiably highly respected, funny and so kind and welcoming to me when I joined the ACL Council.”
ACL special adviser Professor Dominic Regan tweeted: “Michael Bacon was a deity. He loved costs, wine, dining out and wine. I was so lucky to know him and be the recipient of his wisdom.”
Barrister Matt Waszak added: “A wonderful man who taught me some of my first words when it came to costs.”
Fellow barrister Shaman Kapoor wrote on LinkedIn: “I’m so sad to hear this news. Michael was always extremely supportive of me and my career and was a kind and generous soul whom I had the great pleasure of knowing and respecting. May he rest in eternal peace.”
John Ivory, Costs Lawyer and director at Keith Bintley, wrote: “Michael was a great man of the costs world and always willing to share stories and help others whenever he could.”
His son, Nick Bacon QC, told Costs Lawyer: “On behalf of Michael’s family, I would like to pass on our sincere heartfelt thanks for all of the loving messages and support that we have received from the ‘costs world’. Each and every message means a great deal to us in this difficult time.”