Costs News

21 August 2019
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CLSB unveils first rise to cost of practising since 2011

The Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) has proposed a first increase in the practising certificate fee (PCF) since 2011, with a £25 hike to £275 on the cards for the 2020 practising year.

A consultation paper said that, “given inflationary pressures over time, as well as increases in the levies that we are required to pay to other organisations, it is now prudent to increase the PCF”.

The CLSB said that, had the PCF been increased in line with inflation over the past eight years, the 2020 PCF would be “around” £308.

The CLSB has to pay a mandatory annual levy to both the Legal Services Board and Legal Ombudsman from the money raised, £13,000 and £5,000 respectively in 2020. The former is actually £5,000 less than the levy in the current year.

A comparison of the proposed 2019 and 2020 CLSB budgets show that other heads of spending will go down as well. However, with the CLSB now employing two part-time staff – new chief executive Kate Wellington (pictured) and former chief executive turned chief operating officer Lynn Plumbley – provision for salaries has risen from £93,500 to £104,000. The figure also includes fees paid to members of the board and the CLSB’s panels, and a 3.5% cost of living increase. In 2018, the salaries figure was £81,000.

The 2020 budget also includes £5,000 for contingencies and a £10,000 contribution to reserves, neither of which were in the previous two budgets.

The consultation closes at midnight on Monday 9 September.

Meanwhile, the CLSB has made a disciplinary finding against an unnamed Costs Lawyer who failed to cooperate with the annual CPD audit.

It said the Costs Lawyer failed to comply with CPD rule 1.6 – “A Costs Lawyer is required to co-operate fully with the CLSB in the annual CPD audit process undertaken by the CLSB” – and principle 5.1 of Costs Lawyer Code of Conduct about co-operating with the CLSB.

It led to a “minor disciplinary finding”, with a warning letter and an order to pay costs of £250. Further, their 2019 practising certificate was revoked with effect from 19 August 2019 and entry on the Costs Lawyer register suspended “due to failure to meet the criteria in the practising rules for holding a practising certificate”.

The next newsletter will be published in a fortnight.

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