Costs News

06 August 2020
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News in brief - 06.08.2020

Revised Costs Lawyer practising rules now in force

New practising rules for Costs Lawyers came into force last week, following a consultation and then approval from the Legal Services Board. The rules establish the criteria for obtaining a practising certificate and govern the right to carry out reserved legal activities.

The CLSB said the new rules would “modernise the CLSB’s practising regime and facilitate the move to a digital process for renewing Costs Lawyers’ practising certificates later this year”.

The changes are fairly minor. They include expanding what Costs Lawyers have to disclose to the regulator on applying for or renewing their practising certificate to include any disciplinary proceedings by a regulatory or professional body, as well as any adverse finding of a civil court or tribunal.

They will also provide the CLSB with more flexibility in offering a dispensation on the practising fee where a Costs Lawyer is taking parental leave.

 

Land chamber president issues costs warning

The president of the lands tribunal has expressed concern at the level of costs incurred by parties bringing claims under the chamber’s relatively new jurisdiction in telecommunications – 68 references under the new Electronic Communications Code were received in the past year.

Writing in the Senior President of Tribunals’ annual report, Lands Chamber president Sir Timothy Fancourt said: “The chamber has continued to express its disquiet at the cost of resolving disputes under the new code. There is, as yet, no evidence that parties on either side of the industry or their advisers are taking effective steps to bring their disputes before the chamber at proportionate expense.

“Unnecessarily elaborate pleadings, over-engineered witness statements addressing irrelevant topics, and unfocussed expert evidence straying too often into expositions of the law have all been encountered with unacceptable frequency.”

Sir Timothy warned that, unless “effective measures” were taken by parties to keep costs within “rational limits”, it would act.

“The chamber signaled its intent in CTIL v Central St Giles, in which the aggregate costs incurred by three parties in a short hearing about rooftop access exceeded £100,000 but the chamber limited the sums recoverable by the successful parties to £5,000 each.”

 

Level of costs irrelevant to indemnity costs order

The Court of Appeal has rejected a defendant’s complaint that an award of indemnity costs was not appropriate to sanction a claimant’s poor litigation conduct because its costs were not very high. 

Lord Justice Coulson said: “Taken to its logical conclusion, it would mean that only if the respondent's costs were unreasonably high would such an order be made. That cannot follow as a matter of logic or as a matter of principle.”

 

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