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Gill Perry, Jones Myers LLP
Welcome to Costs Round Up, the 5 minute read that enlightens, brightens and informs on the week in legal costs news.
This week, Lisa Kingston [Fenwick Elliot Solicitors] discusses the Jackson Reforms to litigation process: three years on .
Quoting Mr Justice Edwards Stuart, Lisa’s article concludes
“If access to justice is to have any real meaning, then the aim of keeping costs to the reasonable minimum must become paramount. Procedural squabbles must be banished and a culture of co-operative conduct introduced in their place. This will not prevent contentious issues from being tried fairly: on the contrary it should promote it.”
Which brings us nicely on to the NHSLA who this week had their knuckles wrapped and were ordered by the High Court (Mr Justice Foskett) to pay indemnity costs after sending a last-minute surveillance video to the Claimant’s lawyers which resulted in a trial being vacated, read more here.
At present, part of a client’s ATE insurance premium is still recoverable from the Paying Party in clinical negligence claims in certain specific circumstances however the MOJ is planning further reform in a secondary consultation. Richard Whale at DAS LawAssist gives An ATE insurer’s view on the clinical negligence reforms and determines what will be the likely impact on recovery for Solicitors and Receiving Parties alike.
On the subject of reform, the Guardian this week reports on Pop-up courts needed to help create more flexible justice system.
We like this idea.
“A ‘court in a box’ could feature key elements that could be readily transported and assembled on site,” the report suggests. “Inspiration for this is drawn from the BBC’s travelling Question Time set, though the court ‘set’ would be less elaborate……”
It’s very workable.
We are thinking of all the vacant spaces on the Headrow in Leeds Town Hall as we write and if the saving could be ploughed back into legal aid provision then it is an idea worth exploring - did you know that the existing court and tribunal estate costs the taxpayer an estimated £500m a year to run?
And we write this mindful of the plight of two families grieving for lost children (7 year old Zane Gbangbola and 5 year old Alexia Walenkaki) both of whom died in separate, tragic and unusual circumstances and where both sets of parents have been denied legal aid at the inquest on the grounds that the cases do not touch the public interest.
There are many, many people coming together to support access to justice. This week in London thousands met Walking for Justice London Commenting ahead of the walk, Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson said:
'We will be walking to raise funds for free legal advice charities supported by the London Legal Support Trust. The need for these charities has grown over the past few years while resources for their work have diminished. That makes the funds raised by the London Legal Walk more important than ever…..'
And finally, here is a true legal aid success story from John Halford at Bindmans’ Solicitors, explaining how the Supreme Court’s rejection of the legal aid residence test is a victory for the rule of law.
It’s a quiet week on the sporting front for the Company as we head to a short period of rest and recovery! In the meantime, our Bristol office has started a new book club with their first title the Way of Kings (by Brandon Sanderson). To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next week…