Harmans Costs Brief - September 2016

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Costs Brief is back for the autumn. We've had a summer break but we're back for September with all the latest industry news including a recent Court of Appeal decision against Richmond-upon-Thames London Borough Council.

We're very busy preparing for the APIL annual clinical negligence conference at The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales at the end of September where we will be exhibiting. Matthew Harman is on the road too and will be a guest speaker at The Law Society commercial litigation conference next month. 

We hope you enjoy this issue of Costs Brief, see you in October!

Many thanks, Harmans Costs
For even more news and comment visit our website
Challenging High Court Enforcement Officers fees

You can take Court action over bailiffs in the following situations:
  • you want to recover goods or possessions back because you believe the bailiff didn't follow the right process and wrongly removed items
  • you suffered a financial loss because of something the bailiff did wrongly
  • you disagree with the bailiff's fees and charges
You can also apply to the court for a decision where there is a disagreement over how much money any joint owners of belongings sold should receive.

If you believe the bailiff's fees and charges to be wrong, you should discuss this with the bailiff firm first.

If you are unable to reach an agreement on the fees and charges, you can apply to the Court to make a decision about how much should be charged.

The court will consider the following kinds of cases over fees:
  • a dispute about the amount of fees and expenses charged by a bailiff
  • where you, the creditor or the bailiff wants the Court to assess how much should be charged in fees and expenses
You can apply to the Court to assess the amounts charged, and must include the following evidence:
  • evidence of the amount of fees or expenses you are disputing, for example a copy of the bailiff's bill
  • evidence that the fees or expenses are not correct, for example a copy of an agreement saying you settled the debt before it was necessary to start the next stage of the process
  • evidence that the bailiff has charged more than once for any action
  • evidence that you are vulnerable and therefore should not have been charged fees without the bailiffs first giving you the chance to get help to deal with the situation
  • if the dispute is over the percentage fee for any stage, evidence of the amount of money recovered and your own calculation of what the percentage fee should be
For further details and guidance, including tables explaining each stage of the process, just click here.

Commercial litigation conference - 10 October 2016, The Law Society, London
Have you booked your space on The Law Society commercial litigation conference yet? This event is purely focused on costs and funding in commercial litigation and will assess the impact of the Jackson reforms as well as examining the further changes ahead.

Lord Justice Jackson, the architect of the civil justice reforms, will deliver the keynote speech alongside a high calibre line-up of judges, litigation solicitors and costs experts, including our own Matthew Harman.

This event is worth 4 CPD hours.

Click to find out more and to book your space.

Court of Appeal quashes permission for hydro-electric station on the Thames
and awards costs against Richmond-upon-Thames LBC

A council must pay a local hotel owner £55,000 in costs after losing a judicial review over construction of a hydro-electric station.

The London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames had given permission for the installation at Teddington Lock, where it would have replaced a section of a weir, with a plant room built above the three turbines

Hotelier Lensbury, whose hotel overlooks the weir, was initially unsuccessful in its judicial review. But the Court of Appeal found in its favour in Lensbury Ltd, R (On the Application of) v Richmond-Upon-Thames Borough Council [2016] EWCA Civ 814 and quashed planning permission.

Sales LJ said the appeal turned on whether Richmond's policy on protection of metropolitan open land (MOL) imposed the same protections as those afforded to green belt.

He said: "The council failed to appreciate that the planning application was for development which was inappropriate in the context of MOL and therefore failed to ask itself the critical question, whether 'very special circumstances' existed which justified the grant of planning permission.

"Once the correct interpretation of [the] policy is identified as set out above, it can be seen that as a mater of substance the council has gone badly wrong in its consideration of the planning merits of the application for development in this case."

You can find out what else the Judge had to say here.

Legal Aid Agency contracts chief to leave

Hugh Barrett, the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) official in charge of commissioning new contracts, will leave the agency at the end of this week, the Ministry of Justice have just announced.

As director of legal aid commissioning and strategy, Barrett's responsibilities included commissioning and contract management of legal aid providers in England and Wales, and overseeing the public defender service.

Last month, the LAA found Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) in breach of contract and terminated its contract with them on the basis that "the firm had breached its contractual requirements."

Practice Direction 51L – New Bill of Costs Pilot Scheme coming into force 29 September

The pilot testing the New Bill of Costs is extended for a further period of 12 months.  Modifications are made to the Bill of Costs following the initial pilot.

There are no form changes associated with this update.

Click the link below for further details.
Harmans are delighted to be exhibiting at the APIL annual clinical negligence conference at The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport from 29-30 Sept. If you're going too then we'd love to see you at our stand!


Follow us on Twitter @HarmansCosts for the latest industry comment.  Feel free to tweet or DM our legal costs experts a question.
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