Supreme Court rejects narrow approach to LASPO transitional provisions on success fees and ATE

Lord Sumption

The Supreme Court has allowed the recovery of a pre-LASPO success fee and after-the-event premium where the conditional fee agreement and insurance had to be extended after 1 April 2013 to cover appeals, in a significant ruling on the Act’s transitional provisions

March 29th, 2017

Burford unveils sharp increase in profits but warns over lack of ATE for big cases

Chris Bogart colour

Litigation funder Burford Capital has announced a 75% increase in net profits for 2016, taking the figure to $115m (£95m), while warning the government that the Jackson reforms had made it impossible to provide after-the-event (ATE) insurance for “large and complex” commercial cases.

March 14th, 2017

ATE insurer escapes £320,000 costs liability because of policy breaches

insurance policy - claim rejected

An after-the-event insurer has escaped liability to pay out £320,000 after the High Court found that its insured had breached four conditions precedent in the policy relating to claims co-operation, information provision and associated clauses.

March 7th, 2017

CFA of claimant signed up in pre-LASPO rush ruled unenforceable

2013 year calendar. April. Isolated 3D image

A law firm which was instructed in the run-up to LASPO coming into force failed to take any substantive steps in the case before 1 April 2013 and as a result their conditional fee agreement fell foul of the Act’s transitional provisions and was unenforceable, a district judge has ruled.

March 3rd, 2017

Costs judge issues strong proportionality warning over need to plan cases

cutting costs

A costs judge has emphasised the need for solicitors to plan their litigation so as to ensure that their costs are proportionate, after slashing a £72,000 bill for a low-value clinical negligence case by two-thirds. He also added to the confusion over whether additional liabilities should be included when undertaking the proportionality test.

February 22nd, 2017

Whole of split bill, less additional liabilities, subject to proportionality test, rules regional costs judge

Judicial Roundtable

A court faced with a bill of costs that straddles the Jackson reforms should consider both the pre and post April 2013 costs when deciding whether it is proportionate, but ignore any additional liabilities, a regional costs judge has ruled.

February 20th, 2017

Costs judge says no: paparazzi lose bid to recover additional liabilities from TV star Walliams

David Walliams

A picture agency which sent photographers to David Walliams’ house when news of his divorce broke is not a news publisher and so cannot recover additional liabilities following the settlement of an action brought by the entertainer, the Senior Costs Judge has ruled.

February 3rd, 2017

Phone-hacking claimants fail in bid for relief from sanctions after late notifications of funding

ACL Roundtable

The Senior Costs Judge has refused to grant relief from sanctions to two claimants in the MGN phone hacking case – Nicola Horlick and Alan Yentob – who delayed in providing notice of funding. However, he ruled that rates higher than the guideline rates were reasonable.

November 10th, 2016

Supreme Court to hear trio of cases on continuing success fee and ATE recoverability

Supreme Court night

The Supreme Court has consolidated three cases on whether the continuing recoverability of additional liabilities in publication and privacy cases are incompatible with publishers’ rights to freedom of expression.

October 27th, 2016

High Court rejects security for costs application in face of £5m ATE policy


The High Court has accepted after-the-event (ATE) insurance cover of £5m as sufficient to dismiss an application for security for costs. Mr Justice Snowden described the ATE market as “substantial and mature” and that insurers did not have a commercial incentive to fight tooth and nail to avoid paying out because of the damage it would do to their reputation.

October 24th, 2016


Proportionality – not just a matter for detailed assessment

Stack of documents and papers

Proportionality is one of the major issues that we find we are dealing with at the end of a matter, particularly in the small-to-medium-value claims. Why was it introduced? It was considered that the then existing system was not working and that a system needed to be put in place which would “promote access to justice at proportionate cost”. In 2009, Court of Appeal judge Sir Anthony May said: “Assessments which have to concentrate retrospectively on what the winning party has spent will always risk producing a disproportionate result.”

March 29th, 2017

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