Costs News

04 February 2016
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News in brief 4th February 2016

Working parties hard at work

The ACL has held a meeting with the Senior Costs Judge Andrew Gordon-Saker (pictured) to discuss the state of play with the new format bill of costs in light of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee’s recent decision that it was too soon to proceed this year. Sue Nash reported that, following the meeting, the ACL’s J-Codes and bill working party would now be looking further into a potential interim bill format.

Meanwhile, the provisional assessment working party is finalising its report and recommendations, while a working party of Council members has been formed to respond to the consultation on Lord Justice Briggs’ interim report on the structure of the civil courts.

Cost transparency call

Law firms should be required to publish the average cost of legal services on their websites – including the average cost of disbursements – as well as details of the complaints they have received from clients, as part of a push to increase transparency in the market, the Legal Services Consumer Panel said this week.

Panel chair Elisabeth Davies said: “More needs to be done to empower consumers and encourage them to make informed decisions. Information, simply presented, at the time of need, is one tool that can be used by legal services regulators. We have seen this tool adopted in other sectors and although there are challenges, we hope regulators rise to the task and begin the journey towards more transparency, and effective engagement.”

Complaints about lawyers fall to new low

The number of complaints about lawyers has fallen to its lowest level since the opening of the Legal Ombudsman (LeO), its much-delayed annual report and accounts have shown.

In the year to 31 March 2015, LeO received 59,000 ‘contacts’ – down from 69,500 the previous year – of which 18,185 were complaints (19,450 the year before) and just 7,635 were actually investigated, compared to 8,323 in 2013/14, a drop of 8%. The fall-off between complaints received and investigated is mainly due to complainants having not gone through their lawyer’s complaints procedure first.

Personal injury and litigation were the fourth and fifth most common practice areas for complaints, generating between them 21% of all complaints.

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