Harmans Costs Brief - March 2016

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Another busy month!  Harmans are very proud to have been recognised in the Costs Company of the Year category in the Modern Claims Awards, there's more on that below. You can also find out more about our spring seminar, invitations will be sent out very soon but please get in touch now if you'd like to request a space by emailing our Marketing Manager Vikki Knight. 

We've still got time for all the latest industry news though, hope you enjoy the latest Costs Brief.

Many thanks, Harmans Costs


For even more news and comment visit our website

Harmans shortlisted for Costs Company of the Year at Modern Claims 2016 Awards

The Doctors Chambers Modern Claims Awards celebrate cross-industry talent and success across a range of areas in the claims industry from Law Firm of the Year to Innovation of the Year; and this year Harmans are very proud to have been recognised in the Costs Company of the Year category.

The judges looked at various criteria including evidence that the business has responded innovatively to market demands and has effectively and efficiently provided good value work as well as providing real benefits to clients and strategic partners.

Matthew Harman, Partner, says: "It’s absolutely fantastic to be shortlisted for a Modern Claims Award especially in the tough category of Costs Company of the Year. At the end of last year we were shortlisted for a Law Society Excellence Award so to now be recognized by Modern Claims too is very rewarding for us all at Harmans."

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in Leeds on Thursday 28th April.

You can download Harmans' bespoke mobile application Costs Expert now which was a key part of their nomination and which features the first ever interest calculator for the costs industry:



Summary of 83rd amendment to CPR

With effect from 6 April 2016 the 83rd amendments to the CPR come into force.  There are some minor but important changes in relation to Costs Management (PD3E):

  • The costs management rules are amended to provide that only the first page of Precedent H is to be exchanged and filed in cases where the value of the claims is under £50,000 or the costs are less than £25,000
  • Exclusions - Claims made on behalf of a child are excluded from the regime, and where the Claimant has a limited or severely impaired life expectation the court will ordinarily disapply cost management. 
  • Timing  -  For lower value claims the budget must be filed with the Directions Questionnaire, for other claims it must be filed 21 days before the case management conference. 
  • Documentation - Agreed budget discussion reports must be filed seven days before the first hearing (this is a new provision which has been adopted previously on a voluntary basis)
  • Costs claimed in each phase of the proceedings, must be made available to the court when assessing costs at the end of a case.

Further amendments to the Rules insofar as they relate to costs matters are as follows:

Part 47 and Practice Direction 47 - The rules are amended to provide that details of costs budgets are provided when detailed assessment of costs is required (Model Precedent Q).

PD51L - New Bill of Costs - The pilot scheme for a new bill of costs is extended whilst the impact of its mandatory introduction is assessed.

Please note that this is a change from our normal format of a breakfast seminar, we thought it would be nice to have a drink and a chat with you all after the seminar has finished. Please email our Marketing Manager, Vikki Knight to check latest availability.

Impact of court closures likely to impede access to justice for many

After the consultation on court closures, the decision has been taken to close 86 out of the 91 courts initially identified. This represents a reprieve for just 5.
However, the Law Society thought there were good reasons to save 59 courts so how can the Ministry of Justice justify such swingeing?
The 86 courts to be closed represent around one-fifth of the court estate in England and Wales. At the same time, the MOJ is also closing 75% of its buildings, going from 800 down to less than 200.
The MoJ claims that 97% of citizens will be able to reach their required court within an hour(!) by car even after the closures and that the closures will still provide “effective access to justice” and “high-quality service provision”. Where does that leave the elderly or the disabled or others without easy access to the remaining courts?
Speaking at the House of Commons this week, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, did not appear to agree with the MoJ’s attempts to swell government coffers at significant personal cost to Court staff and the public in general.
Lord Thomas stated that the civil justice system needs an immediate redesign to “start again”. He also criticised court fee increases, which he suggests makes civil justice “unaffordable to most”.
Lord Thomas also supports the proposals put forward in Lord Justice Briggs’ interim report, which include virtual hearings and an online court, the modernisation of the court system and processes designed for use without a lawyer.
Lord Justice Briggs’ final report on civil justice reform is due to be published in July, and Lord Thomas has suggested it would be likely to require primary legislation. This must beg the question, why the indecent haste to rush through this decision now?
In the short term, it seems inevitable that these changes will only cause further delays which in turn will make it even harder for parties to gain access to justice.  

Click to see the potential implementation dates.

Are you a regular visitor to all of these useful blogs and websites? If not, you should be!

Can a lawyer recover the costs of researching a point of law?

Lawyers are generally expected to be fully up to date in the substantive and procedural law in the fields in which they practice.  For example, that is why no charge should be made by civil lawyers for "researching" CPR.

However, where there are unusual and infrequent cases or abstruse points of law which could arise at any time, this would necessitate legal research "that must be paid for" - see Perry -v- Lord Chancellor [1994] times, 26th May QBD.

Budget 2016: Insurers slam IPT increase

The insurance industry has warned that the further increase in insurance premium tax (IPT) in the UK will ultimately have to be passed onto customers.

The Chancellor George Osborne increased IPT by a further 0.5% to 10% in his Budget announcement yesterday (Wednesday March 16).  This is the second increase to IPT in less than nine months. He said the proceeds would be used to boost flood defences.



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