Costs News

05 February 2020
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News in brief - 06.02.2020

New CLSB members named

Costs Lawyer Andrew McAulay has been named a new member of the Costs Lawyer Standards Board alongside lay member Andrew Harvey, a former marketing director at Eversheds.

The pair replace Gillian Milburn and Tracyanne Ayliffe.

Mr McAulay heads the costs and litigation funding team at Leeds firm Clarion, which has 25 people and acts for 200 law firms across the UK. It claims to be the biggest in-house legal costs team with an external offering in the UK.

Andrew Harvey worked in leadership roles at a number of law firms, including a decade as head of marketing at Eversheds. He already holds a range of non-executive roles and has a particular specialism in governance for professional, membership and regulatory bodies.

Among other roles, he is a chair of fitness to practise panels at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, deputy chair of the investigating committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council and a non-executive director of the Independent Office for Police Conduct. Mr Harvey is also an independent selection panellist for the Judicial Appointments Commission.

 

High Court mulls QOCS extension

The High Court is to rule on whether qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) should be extended to people pursuing claims under the Equality Act following a judicial review heard last week.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is funding the case against the Secretary of State for Justice (SoS) brought by disabled campaigner Esther Leighton due to its strategic importance in ensuring access to justice for all people.

Ms Leighton is represented by London firm Deighton Pierce Glynn and Karon Monaghan QC of Matrix Chambers.

Granting permission to bring the case last year, Mr Justice Edis said: “The claim is clearly arguable on the merits, in that it claims that the SoS has a duty to decide whether to extend QOCS to discrimination claims and has failed to do so.

“The answer by the SoS is that he has not failed to do so, and is in the process of doing so. There is no evidence as to what, exactly, this means.”

A powerchair user, Ms Leighton has been bringing claims under the Act against shops with step-only access and that have not invested in inexpensive removable ramps.

The Equality Act 2010 relies on individual enforcement and she has taken cases in the small claims court against many businesses, representing herself, but said the costs risk when cases moved outside the small claims track, particularly when facing large corporations, was too great.

Last year, the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee recommended extending QOCS to cover discrimination cases in the county court.

 

Raise your legal aid concerns on Twitter

Providers now have the option of contacting the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) on Twitter through @LAAHelpTeam to raise concerns about applications and billing.

LAA chief executive Jane Harbottle said: “This provides an alternative way for providers to tap into the expertise of our customer services team. We are looking for new ways to improve the experience and support available to contracted firms providing legal aid services.

“We’ll keep a close eye on how well it is working and will appreciate feedback to make sure it is a success.”

The account will be monitored from 9am to 3pm daily and the LAA is aiming to respond within one hour of posts being made.

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