The Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) has reopened its training scheme for the first time in three years, while also making it more straightforward for lawyers to gain the costs lawyer qualification.
There has been a hiatus while the regulator, the Costs Lawyer Standards Board, considered whether to change the training regime, but it now has given the green light for the association’s training arm – ACL Training – to start accepting applications from prospective students who wish to begin the qualification in January 2020.
Costs lawyer is one of the eight legal professions recognised by the Legal Services Act 2007.
The course outcomes remain unchanged. Trainees will need to complete two elements in order to qualify: a Level 6 academic qualification and a three-year period of supervised practice which can be completed before, during or after study of the academic element.
ACL Training delivers the academic element through remote training, supported by face-to-face sessions at different points during the course.
The module running order on the qualification has been re-worked and, for some, the academic element can now be completed in a shorter time span and at a reduced cost. Depending on the qualifications that applicants already hold – such as a qualifying law degree or graduate diploma in law – exemptions are available, potentially cutting the time it takes for a trainee to complete the qualification from three years to 12 months.
The associates said these changes would both benefit the next generation of costs professionals – and their employer sponsors – and also help other members of the legal profession who wish to improve their knowledge of legal costs. They now have the opportunity to do so in a time frame that may better suit their needs.
ACL chair Claire Green says: “We are extremely pleased to have worked constructively with the CLSB to achieve these changes. There are positive indications of interest in the course, and I hope current and prospective practitioners are encouraged by this development.
“There is so much happening in the world of costs – whether in the substantive law or new ways of working, with the electronic bill taking hold – that this is an excellent time to embark on a career in the field.”
The CLSB has published the syllabus and exemptions table. Those interested in commencing the course in January 2020 need to fill out the application form. The deadline for applications is 29 November 2019.