Costs News

24 March 2022
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News in brief – 24.03.2022

Have your say in review of Costs Lawyer qualification

Members are being asked to respond to a survey issued by ACL Training’s management board, which you should have received by email earlier this week.

Following the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) issuing its new Costs Lawyer Competency Statement, ACL Training is reviewing the qualification and seeking input from costs professionals. The survey covers aspects of qualification design, such as exemptions, cost and duration.

All responses will be anonymous. The survey will be open until 5pm on 10 April and members are encouraged to circulate the link to members of your team.

 

Take care to comply with sanctions, CLSB tells Costs Lawyers

The Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) has urged all Costs Lawyers to be alert to “any implications for their practice” arising from the ever-growing list of sanctions on Russia.

“All Costs Lawyers must play their part in safeguarding the UK and protecting the reputation of the legal services industry,” it said. “Breaching the financial sanctions requirements can result in criminal prosecution or a fine.”

The sanctions prevent firms from doing business or acting for listed individuals, entities or ships. Firms should check the financial sanctions lists before offering services or undertaking transactions for clients.

The lists and information about the UK sanctions regimes in force are constantly updated and published online. The Financial Conduct Authority has also published helpful guidance on the sanctions regime. Guidance is also available on exemptions for which a licence may be sought from the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation.

The CLSB said: “We encourage all Costs Lawyers to keep any client work that has a Russian nexus under review to ensure compliance.”

 

Barrister secures second wasted costs order in same case

A barrister at Temple Garden Chambers has secured a second wasted costs order (WCO) in the same case.

Anthony Johnson represented the successful defendant insurance company in the application made following the strike-out of a claim at trial, having previously secured a WCO following the adjournment of a previous incarnation of the same trial.

Deputy District Judge Buckley made the order against the former solicitors of the claimant, whose case was struck out at trial after it transpired that he was unable to read or understand English. Noting that the directions order had made specific reference to witnesses’ ability to read and understand English, he held that they had been inappropriate, inadequate and negligent.

The judge held that it was “absolutely essential” that solicitors make tactful enquiries about their clients’ ability to read and understand English in any case, the chambers said.

“On the facts of this case, the failure was particularly egregious because their previous counsel had warned them that the claimant could not read his statement and that it was invalid,” its report of the decision said.

They should have immediately sought to rectify this problem by treating the situation as an emergency. Tying everything together he concluded that they were not deliberately dishonourable, just failing to get their act together in a fairly hopeless way. 

The judge accepted that the costs allowable were the difference between the costs that were incurred and those that would have been incurred in the absence of the conduct complained of. These were assessed at £6,600. 

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