Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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We have now published our first Fire Wire News set for delivery to subscribers on the 1st September 2011.

It is  designed as an essential read on costs law; and Civil Procedure Rules on issues raised by you our client. It is short, sharp, and brief to get to the essential facts straight away. We welcome your views the good, the bad and the ugly.

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Split liability and your Costs


A very common question raised is,”what are my costs on a matter that settles for £1,200.00 on a 50:50% liability split?” 

The answer is not as complicated as it seems at first glance. As our Senior Costs Lawyer explains.

If the matter has settled by Part 36 “costs will be assessed on the standard basis if the amount of costs is not agreed.” (36.10(3) CPR).

Further, the Claimant solicitor is advised not to accept any offer based on Small Claims (Part 27) costs.

However, the standard basis will be pursuant to Part 45 CPR (fixed recoverable costs) as opposed to Part 44 if the matter is settled pre-issue (Post issue, 44.9 CPR states that costs rules apply after allocation and in our scenario, standard based costs would apply if the matter was allocated to the Fast Track. It is unlikely that a personal injury claim will be allocated to the Small Claims Track)

But, the Defendant will say, the matter was worth £600.00 and would have been allocated to the Small Claims Track and so Small Claims Costs apply.

This is not correct as the matter has not been allocated (see 44.9 CPR above, and in any event, the financial value of the claim is only one factor to be considered in allocation see 26.8 CPR)

When the defendants concede the above point, they normally will contest Part 45 costs on £600.00! This is also incorrect. The calculation at 45.9 CPR gives the costs as “the total of (a) £800.00; (b) 20% of the damages agreed …” plus success fee plus VAT and disbursements.

In effect the agreed damages are £1,200.00. Damages and liability are not connected. The costs are thus to be based on £800.00 plus 20% of agreed damages of £1,200.00 plus success fee and VAT and of course disbursements.

Law centres to shut down

A least a third of law centres will close if government plans to cut legal aid funding go ahead this autumn, solicitors have predicted.

The warning came after the UK’s largest not-for-profit social welfare law firm, Law for All, went into administration, weeks after the Immigration Advisory Service also collapsed.

A senior spokesperson at the Law Centres Federation, commented that 18 of the 56 law centres nationwide were particularly susceptible to closure, because legal aid accounts for more than 60% of their revenue. Legal aid rates will be cut by 10% across the board this October.

The concerns have been echoed by the CEO of the London Legal Support Trust, who commented further that ‘many more’ than a third were likely to cease trading. With more to follow as the other cuts begin to bite.’

The removal of welfare advice and most debt, employment and housing advice from the scope of legal aid will slash the number of clients receiving help from law centres each year from 120,000, to just 40,000.

The Law Society spokesperson said that the law centre closures would mean there was ‘no true access to justice’.

The MoJ is to provide a £20m fund to help law centres  make the transition to the new tighter funding regime. However, law centre solicitors suggested this would not be enough to keep them afloat.

Let us spare a thought for Law Graduates

“They are denied everything that is natural. Intensively farmed in crowded, filthy conditions that cause extreme discomfort and stress, many … are driven insane … most never see sunlight or breathe fresh air … the sounds of 1000’s being hauled to the slaughter each week are likely to be clearly audible to local residents.”

The words of Michael Mansfield QC, more famous for cases including the Guildford 4, the Birmingham 6 and the Bloody Sunday and Charles De Menezes enquiries, in a letter to Derbyshire County Council expressing his concern about the conditions on a local pig farm.

A strange but familiar parallel to the plight of the law graduates who try so desperately to secure one of the increasingly rare positions in magic circle firms.

Study hard, lads and lasses, and you too could could fight the corner of the swine so mistreated in Derbyshire this week !

Summer Holidays but not for Infant Approvals

The summer holidays ! A special time of the year when most Lawyers would rather spend time in the office to get out of the way of their  children and the drain in time, energy and resources they bring.

However, Master Howarth’s judgment in Thaxton -v- Goodman (A Child) (Rev 1) [2010] EWHC 90182 (Costs) (23 November 2010) has been attacked in Platt DJ’s judgment in GW and BW AND T Ad and RP (22nd July 2011)

Not only are no more attendance fees for counsel at Infant Approval Hearings looking set, but no fee for Advices either. Furthermore, although Infant Approval Hearings are Part 8 Applications the costs are to be assessed pursuant to Part 45, despite r8.9(c) CPR seemingly suggesting otherwise. So, Claimant solicitors are looking at spending a lot more time and energy and resources attending to the requirements of other people’s children, at no further recoverable cost.



Legal Services Consortiums Cost Less

Well here we go… It seems this path of pre-approved panel has finally caught the attention of the public sector, the advantages in time and cost savings being seized by insurers for the last decade. The opportunities are here now to set up local legal consortia and present your proposals. Local group networking among your competitors is key to securing this varied and volume referral opportunity.