SCCO back up to full strength after Master Rowley is appointed

Rowley: in post from 2 April

The Senior Courts Costs Office will be back up to its full complement of judges from April after well-known solicitor Jason Rowley was appointed as a taxing master.

Mr Rowley, president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers a decade ago, has been a deputy costs judge since 2006, as well as a High Court costs assessor.

The 45-year-old, who was admitted as a solicitor in 1991, worked in personal injury, briefly for claimants, before turning to defendant work and eventually becoming managing partner of Vizards Wyeth.

After more than five years at the helm of the firm – which subsequently merged into Weightmans – in 2009 he became chief executive of 12 King’s Bench Walk. Last year he joined Temple Legal Protection as senior underwriting manager.

Mr Rowley has been heavily involved in costs issues for many years. He was formerly a member of the Law Society’s new model CFA working party and the SCCO’s costs practitioners group. He is an editor of Kemp & Kemp: Personal Injury Law, Practice and Procedure, including the chapters on costs and funding, and is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Personal Injury Law.

One of his notable cases as a deputy costs judge was A v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, in which he found that a Sheffield man who instructed specialist London solicitors for his action against the police should have instructed a solicitor in Sheffield. The High Court upheld his ruling on appeal ([2008] EWHC 1658 (QB)).

Speaking at the 2011 Association of Costs Lawyers National Conference, Mr Rowley highlighted some tips on “how to patronise a deputy costs judge”:

  • Say “I don’t normally have to do that in this corridor”.
  • Refer to a decision the judge has made, give him a copy of it and tell him how great it was.
  • Look at part 52 before seeking permission to appeal. He recalled one representative who just said: “Permission to appeal.” That’s “not a compelling reason”, Mr Rowley said.
  • “Don’t pinch my calculator.”
  • If you are going to quote an authority, have a transcript to hand.
  • Try and avoid settling at the doors of the court. Having done all the preparatory reading, “I’m the only one not excited by it”.