Costs News

03 December 2015
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News in brief 3rd December 2015

Costs Lawyers urged to take part in CCMS survey

Family lawyers group Resolution has launched an online survey aimed at legal aid specialists in all areas of practice – including costs – on their experience of the Legal Aid Agency’s controversial Client and Costs Management System (CCMS). The survey, which is supported by the ACL’s Legal Aid Group, aims to build an evidence base that allows representative bodies to engage with the agency on where the system is not working ahead of its compulsory roll-out next February. The survey can be found here.

Union costs deal signed

Pure Legal Costs Consultants – the business set up earlier this year by Phil Hodkingson, the founder of Compass Costs – has taken the unusual step of announcing a major contract win after signing a three-year deal to handle all the costs work of trade union alternative business structure Unionline. The contract is for the provision of costs drafting, negotiation and advocacy services to Unionline across its whole book of work, estimated at approximately 1,500 cases per year.

Continuing dispute over VAT on medical reports

A circuit judge has upheld on appeal a ruling that a medical agency should not have added VAT to the fee for a medical report provided by an expert who was not VAT registered.

According to the law firm involved, Taylor Rose Law, the deputy district judge had disallowed the VAT added by the medical agency on the provisional assessment and also reduced the medical agency’s fees. He upheld his decision at an oral hearing.

On appeal, the claimant argued that the eight criteria under HMRC Notice 700 para 25.1 were not met. In Kellett v Wigan & District Community Transport, HHJ Platts in Manchester held that, while some criteria might not to be met, that was simply because the medical agency failed to meet them when it could readily do so and therefore such points should not be determinative.

He held that the report was for the claimant’s claim and was not part of the service provided by the medical agency or the solicitor, who were thus not obliged to add VAT. He held that VAT was not reasonably incurred and disallowed it.

The firm said: “This is the latest case in a dispute between medical agencies, who insist it is right to charge VAT, and the liability insurers who disagree. It is a point desperately in need of senior court authority to settle the argument once and for all, but we understand that there will be no application for a second appeal in this case.”

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