Master Rowley has become the latest judge to rule that a reduction in hourly rates for incurred costs is not a good reason to do the same to budgeted costs. The fact the case settled for significantly less than had been claimed was also not a good reason, he found, as the claim was reasonable and not exaggerated.
The Association of Costs Lawyers has sought to calm fears about the electronic bill of costs – which became compulsory in the county court and Senior Courts Costs Office from last Friday – even though it said significant teething problems “are likely”.
The High Court has thrown the industry-standard model for handling low-value personal injury claims into doubt after ruling that solicitors still need to undertake individual risk assessments before setting the success fee – rather than just applying 100% across the board.
A High Court judge has disapplied qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) for part of a failed claim by a solicitor that Oxford University was to blame for a worse-than-expected degree that he said has affected his career to date. While much of the claim was for personal injury, there was also a claim for pure economic loss not covered by QOCS.
Many of the causes of excessive costs have been eliminated but litigation is still too expensive, Sir Rupert Jackson has claimed on the eve of his retirement from the Court of Appeal. In a speech that signalled the judge’s hurt and exasperation at the criticism that has come his way over the past decade, he nonetheless argued that it was “all worth it”.
A circuit judge has more than doubled the amount that Queen guitarist Brian May can recover after he settled a private nuisance dispute, ruling that the costs judge at first instance had misapplied the new proportionality test.
A High Court master has approved a £1.5m increase in the defendants’ budget during the trial in the Lloyds/HBOS litigation. Chief Master Marsh also concluded that he could revise the budget even though by the time the application was made, the defendants had already spent a large proportion of the money.
The government should curb Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendation to expand the use of fixed recoverable costs, limiting them only to the fast-track, according to a survey of costs lawyers. It also found that solicitors are at risk of significant financial losses by not updating their budgets.