The First Edition of Mark Friston’s Civil Costs: Law and Practice quickly established itself as the definitive work on the subject. The much anticipated Second Edition has now been published. This is no minor update.
The book jumps from an already impressive 1,245 pages plus indexing to a massive 1,510 plus indexing. Naturally it includes the latest costs law developments since the last edition, covering cases such as Motto v Trafigura and Simcoe v Jacuzzi UK Group. There is a major update on the ever changing Part 36 regime and a fully revised section on the RTA Portal scheme.
I was somewhat concerned about the timing of this Second Edition. Publication comes as we are in the throes of Jackson implementation. The book states that it gives the law as at April 2012. Recent months have seen the piecemeal publication of some, incomplete, new rules that will be introduced from April 2013, that have not made it into the new edition. The next few months will see a flurry of new rules covering issues such as Qualified One-way Costs Shifting. These have inevitably not made it into the new edition. Of course, much of the reforms will not be retrospective and the law will remain unchanged in respect of many cases for years to come. However, the book advises, in respect of the Jackson reforms, that “When more information is available, an appendix to this chapter will be published on the Internet”.
This is the perfect solution to the problem the author faced. The reader is now provided with a work that will cover the law as it currently stands and will have available an update to deal with the new changes. The reality, of course, is that even when the new rules have been published in their entirety there will remain a period of uncertainty of at least 12 to 18 months whilst we await discovering the courts’ approach to the new rules, such as the new proportionality test. It will be at least 24 months from now before any work can properly hope to deal with the post-Jackson landscape by which stage a Third Edition would be more than welcome. (Many of us, of course, would welcome a new edition annually, but perhaps that is too much to wish for.)
Instead, this edition approaches the Jackson reforms in a novel way. The book includes an extensive section giving guidance on how solicitors’ firms can undertake detailed internal reviews to prepare for the impact of the Jackson reforms. This includes detailed flow charts for firms to work through to enable them to understand how to adjust their business models to the new landscape. This section alone, if properly followed, provides the equivalent of thousands of pounds worth of specialist consultancy advice. Any firm that has not already embarked upon a similar exercise should rush out to buy this book for that section alone.
A new chapter is included that provides extensive tables including the clearest and most comprehensive Guideline Hourly Rate table I have seen, court fees going back over the last five years, medical fees guidance, etc. Again, this section alone is probably worth the price of admittance.
This new edition remains head-and-shoulders above anything else on the subject. Essential, not only to every costs practitioner, but to every lawyer.