Costs News

03 June 2021
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News in brief - 03.06.2021

New issue of Costs Lawyer available next week

The May/June issue of Costs Lawyer magazine will be available on the ACL website from next Tuesday.

It includes a detailed report of the virtual ACL Conference held at the end of April, advice on diversifying your practice, and the deputy head of civil justice’s vision for the future of the courts.

Other topics include budget variation, the interplay between part 36 and part 21, recovering the costs of private prosecutions and of expert witnesses, and a selection of the latest law reports.

 

Judge penalises party that ignored “sensible” offer with indemnity costs

The High Court has hit a defendant that failed to engage with a “sensible” offer with indemnity costs.

Sir Michael Burton, sitting as a High Court judge in Darnitsa v Metabay Import/Export Ltd [2021] EWHC 1471 (Comm), said there should be a penalty for ignoring such an offer.

Dealing with the consequentials after deciding to continue an ex parte worldwide freezing order in favour of the claimant, the judge said the claimant's solicitors made a ‘without prejudice save as to costs offer’ in relation to the inter partes hearing fixed for a week later.

“This was an entirely reasonable and sensible offer ‘to seek to save costs and court time’,” he recorded. The offer was for the freezing order to continue and the defendant's discharge application to be withdrawn, on the basis that there be no order as to the costs of the discharge application, and the costs of the freezing injunction and the continuation application be reserved.

Sir Michael continued: “Had this been accepted, not only would both sides' costs of the hearing before me have been saved, but the defendant would have ended up in a far better position than it is now, facing a substantial order for costs to be paid.

“There was no reply at all to this letter. I am clear that such sensible offers should be encouraged and that there should be some penalty for refusing them or, as in this case, ignoring them. I conclude that the conduct of the defendants in taking that course was unreasonable, and out of the norm.

“I ordered indemnity costs from 14th May [two days after the offer was made], i.e. giving a time for the claimant's offer to be properly considered.”

 

Lawyers signing up for this year’s Legal Walks across the UK

More than 400 teams have already signed up to take part in this year’s Legal Walks, which will as ever raise money for free legal advice charities in the UK.

Taking place on various dates between 21 June and 21 October, they begin this month with walks in Preston, Derby, Doncaster, Northampton, Sheffield, Brighton, Eastbourne, Tunbridge Wells, Hastings, York and Guildford.

In July, there will be walks in Southampton, Oxford, Reading, Bedford, Leeds (virtual) and Chichester. Legal Walks in Scotland, Wales and major cities across England, including London, Manchester and Birmingham, will take place in the autumn.

Legal Walks raised more than £1m in 2019, but most had to be cancelled last year.

Laura Cassidy, fundraising and development manager at the Access to Justice Foundation, said: “There is still time to sign up for any of the Legal Walks taking place this year. Not only are they great fun, but they are a brilliant way to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the free legal advice sector at this challenging time. We’re encouraging everyone who is passionate about access to justice to make a difference and walk side-by-side with us again this year.”

For more information or to register for the Legal Walks taking place in the North East, North West, Yorkshire, the East of England, the Midlands, the South West, Wales or Scotland, visit atjf.org.uk/legal-walks or email lauracassidy@atjf.org.uk

For information, or to register for the Legal Walks taking place in the South East of England, visit: londonlegalsupporttrust.org.uk/our-events/walks-in-the-south-east/ or email signups@llst.org.uk

For more information on the London Legal Walk, visit londonlegalsupporttrust.org.uk/our-events/london-legal-walk-2021/ or email signups@llst.org.uk

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