Costs News

21 January 2016
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News in brief 21st January 2016

STOP PRESS - ELECTION RESULT

Iain Stark has been elected as the next chairman of the ACL. He joins the Council with immediate effect and will attend next Monday’s Council meeting. Around a third of the membership voted, although anyone whose subscription payment had not been received by 5pm yesterday would not have had their vote counted. There will be a full report in next week’s eBulletin.

Government pressing ahead with clinical negligence fixed costs

The introduction of fixed recoverable costs (FRC) in clinical negligence cases is still planned for 1 October 2016, even though the consultation on them – which was originally due to be published last October – has still not come out.

Responding to a question in Parliament from Labour justice spokesman Andy Slaughter – who asked whether the government had considered delaying the introduction of FRC until the planned reductions in costs resulting from LASPO had been seen – health minister Ben Gummer said: “The intention is to introduce FRC for clinical negligence claims from 1 October 2016, following the outcome of the public consultation.

“The department is aware that there are pre-Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 cases in the system and will be for a number of years. However, FRC for clinical negligence is not a new concept and had been proposed by Lord Woolf and Lord Justice Jackson in 1996 and 2009 respectively in order to better manage clinical negligence claims through the legal process.”

Given the need for new rules to be approved by both the Civil Procedure Rule Committee and then Parliament, the reply indicates that there may only be a short consultation on the detail of an FRC scheme, rather than the principle of it.

The Department of Health has previously indicated that it would look to introduce FRC for claims worth up to £100,000, or possibly £250,000.

CA to enter fixed costs/part 36 debate

The Court of Appeal is to decide on whether a party who beats a part 36 offer in a case where fixed costs apply is eligible for indemnity costs or whether they are stuck with those fixed costs. The expedited appeal in Butler v Palmer follows a series of conflicting circuit judge rulings on the issue.

Parker joins CCCL

Costs Lawyer Kim Parker (pictured) has joined theLondon office of Civil and Commercial Costs Lawyers, having previously worked for Elite Law Solicitors (formerly HM Law Costs Draftsmen) for 24 years. She works across all areas of costs ranging from commercial to Court of Protection and clinical negligence.

CCCL’s head of costs Anil Virji said: “I have known Kim for many years and am delighted to welcome her to the team. She is a brilliant addition to our expanding team of Costs Lawyers.”

CPR to aid interpretation of tribunal costs rules

The costs rules governing the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) should be “construed consistently with the equivalent provisions in the Civil Procedure Rules such that the reported decisions and commentary relating to the latter may be read across in giving effect to the former”, the Upper Tribunal has ruled in Lindsay & Another v Young [2015] UKUT 0690 (TCC).

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