ACL backs call to make costs work a reserved legal activity

Mayson: public interest justification

The Association of Costs Lawyers has strongly endorsed the recommendation of leading academic Professor Stephen Mayson that law costs work should only be carried out by properly authorised and regulated specialists.

In his submission to the Ministry of Justice’s review of legal regulation, as reported on our sister site Legal Futures, Professor Mayson urged a move to focus regulation on the type of work involved, rather than who does it.

He said the list of reserved legal activities – which can only be carried out by regulated persons – should encompass those areas of work where there is either a public good or consumer protection justification for doing so.

Classifying law costs work within the category of “activities connected to the administration of justice and due process”, Professor Mayson wrote: “Given the reserved rights currently attaching to Costs Lawyers (including rights of audience and rights to conduct litigation in relation to costs matters, as well as the administration of oaths), when shifting emphasis from regulation by title to regulation by activity, there could well be a public interest justification for extending specific reservation.”

ACL chairman Murray Heining said: “Professor Mayson echoes what we have been saying for a long time. The benefits of using a qualified and regulated Costs Lawyer speak for themselves.

“The Legal Services Act 2007 recognised Costs Lawyers as a specialist arm of the legal profession to ensure that costs are dealt with expertly. This is a vital element of the administration of justice, as is the protection for clients that regulation brings should things go wrong.

“We hope that the Ministry of Justice and Legal Services Board take note of Professor Mayson’s well-reasoned blueprint for refocusing the current regulatory regime on what really matters to clients and the public interest.”


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