I have always found John M Hayes to be reliable, efficient and accurate.
Ryan Reed, Director, H.F.T. Gough & Co Ltd
Welcome to a round-up of legal cost news.
This week Irwin Mitchell Solicitors found themselves on the receiving end of what Professor Dominic Regan described on twitter as a “coruscating judgment from genial DJ Besford” in Yesil v Doncaster NHS Trust. In this case, the Claimant Solicitor had changed the funding from legal aid to CFA shortly before April 2013 but had seemingly failed on paper or in person to advise the Claimant of the implications. There was no evidence that the Claimant had been given the appropriate relevant advice and DJ Besford is reported as saying:
“In my judgement it is inconceivable that a client would not consider the option of an additional 10% uplift on general damages a material factor. The omission to raise this factor, even if the claimant immediately rejected it, seriously calls into question the adequacy of the advice given. Irwin Mitchell would appear to have been not so much ‘leaning’ one way, as giving advice tailored to a decision they had already made. Where one of two or more options available to a client is more financially beneficial to the solicitor, the need for transparency becomes ever greater.”
Whether you see this judgment as the damaging effect of poor file notes and record keeping or a worrying development and trouble ahead for those who also dropped legal aid in favour of CFA pre-LASPO, time will tell.
This week also saw the Court of Appeal in Summers v Bundy strike down a Judge’s decision not to award the 10% Simmons uplift in a legal aid case confirming there was no discretion allowed within the decision. Find out more here. There was commentary from Nigel Poole QC calling for the government “to be honest” about its proposals for Access to Justice and fixed fee costs in clinical negligence work; a suggestion that the £250,000 limit proposed for fixed costs could be varied here and a helpful updating and summary piece by Suffolk Solicitor, Stevan Stratton Dispelling the insurer myths of Personal Injury Claimants.
We thought this article in the Guardian was an interesting perspective from a litigant in person bounced from the small claims court to the multi-track (due to complexity not quantum) in a “David and Goliath” meeting between a bookie and the horse racing authority and the legal costs consequences which make this litigation a gamble of the very worst kind.
Legal Aid continues to ramp up the action in the count down towards the CCMS mandatory introduction 1st April 2016. Have your say on recent progress with the legal aid handbook CCMS survey: the handbook has popularised the #hastag #CCMSFail on twitter in recent weeks. Speaking of which, it now seems that the Legal Aid Agency is advocating ex-gratia payment applications for claiming costs for #CCMS fail.
And finally, there will be massive and widespread support from all of us at John M Hayes, cheering on our Michael Fitzpatrick as he races in the Vitality half marathon in Liverpool on Sunday. Good Luck Michael!
Until next week……