I have found John M Hayes to be a very efficient, friendly and knowledgeable service and have been very satisfied with their services.
Fieldings Porter Solicitors
Costs Round Up this week is dominated by news of the Government’s new vision “Transforming our Justice System” bringing with it a renewed interest in widening the fixed costs regime and not just confined to injury.
Lee Coulthard, Costs expert at John M Hayes notes
“This is a position statement from the government rather than a concrete proposal for change and is therefore vaguely presented with no detail as to how it will be achieved.”
The appetite for change is there however and the outcome would seem to be a foregone conclusion in the current political climate.
We canvassed opinion amongst managers at John M Hayes.
Philip Morris, Regional Manager at Birmingham Office and a Costs Draftsman for over twenty years stated that:
“Frankly the application of the new civil procedure rules regarding proportionality now coming through, albeit somewhat arbitrary, and the increasing weight being placed behind more effective costs management at the outset of a case, seems to me to be sufficient deterrents for Claimant solicitors to monitor their costs with greater scrutiny, which will inevitably lead to lower legal costs.
A fixed costs regime in complex personal injury is not in my mind the answer. Paying parties and those acting for them will no doubt be encouraged by the judiciary’s recent decisions on proportionality, but should at the same time be more focused on achieving swifter and more realistic resolutions.”
Lee Coulthard Assistant Regional Manager at Leeds believes that
“What can be certain is that as long as costs-shifting exists, there will be disputes over the amount. There is still plenty of scope for argument in relation to the fixed costs regime for personal injury claims, and any regime which attempts to scale this up to the full range of civil cases - whilst managing to respect both value and complexity in achieving proportionality - will inevitably be highly complex”
It’s a big if though with the Government now faced with perhaps three possible choices:
Here’s a final comment(for now) from Christopher McClure, Regional Manager at our Manchester office
“The extension of the current fixed costs regime is not, from a monetary point of view, necessarily a bad thing for lawyers – indeed, there are many cases where recoverable fixed costs equal or even exceed what would be recovered on an hourly rate basis for the same work done. The chief concern for lawyers should be the fact that any fixed regime is a one-way ticket into a matrix which makes it all too easy for Parliament to interfere in the most arbitrary way with the amount of costs recoverable. Any legal aid lawyer will tell you that.”
Until next week