Costs judges recruitment exercise gets underway

Colin Campbell: now at Kain Knight

Colin Campbell: now at Kain Knight

The Judicial Appointments Commission has opened a two-week window for applicants interested in becoming judges in the Senior Courts Costs Office.

It is looking to fill three vacancies – although one of them is for the future – and successful candidates will receive a package of £110,040.

The current vacancies have been caused by the retirement of Peter Hurst, with Andrew Gordon-Saker becoming the Senior Costs Judge, and of Colin Campbell. Mr Hurst is now a costs mediator and arbitrator, attached to 39 Essex Chambers, while Mr Campbell is a consultant at costs firm Kain Knight.

The job description notes that detailed assessments “may involve considering substantial quantities of documents, often running to 20 or more boxes of files”, with ‘run of the mill’ bills likely to be in the region of £200,000-£500,000. Bills over £1m are “common”.

The vacancies are open to solicitors and barristers in England and Wales with at least five years’ post-qualification experience.

“Detailed knowledge of the law of costs and its application is required and this will be assessed as part of the selection process for these roles… Costs judges [also] need a general knowledge of all other civil, family and criminal law. Typical civil cases will involve such diverse areas of law as defamation, clinical negligence, planning, personal injury, commercial law or marine law.

“Cases can often involve litigants in person (drawn from all backgrounds from the wealthy to the most vulnerable) and can require especially sensitive handling.”

The appointment is subject to an upper age limit of 70 years with a reasonable length of service of five years. As with all such judicial appointments, any offer is made on the understanding that the appointee will not return to practice.

It is essential that applicants can devote 210 days each year to judicial business, and successful candidate must live within reasonable travelling distance of the Royal Courts of Justice.

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