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On Saturday morning I was like a small child first thing on Christmas morning as my review copy of the 2nd Edition of Mark Friston’s Civil Costs: Law and Practice arrived in the post.
A full review will follow in the next few days.
However, at this stage I just wanted to comment on the fact that generally in life you get what you pay for. In the case of this book, you most certainly do not. The Recommended Retail Price is £85. (You should be able to get it somewhat cheaper online.) For a practitioner’s book at that price you would normally expect no more than a brief handbook giving a summary of a few procedural matters. Here, you get a staggering 1,510 page textbook plus indexing. And not a single word is wasted.
Let me try to put that in context. I recently received an invitation to a cost conference. In the event that I was unable to attend the conference, I was invited to purchase the conference notes. The price of the conference notes was £250. I’ve attended enough costs conferences to know that at least some of the speakers’ notes will consist of no more than copies of their PowerPoint presentation slides. Speaking personally, however good these notes are, they generally end up just gathering dust somewhere after the conference and are never looked at again.
In the case of Civil Costs: Law and Practice, you get the definitive work on the subject for £85 and a book you will refer to day after day. I would willingly (if not necessarily as happily) pay five times that amount for this book.
I’ll repeat the price again so this fully sinks in: £85. That’s less than the equivalent of one hour’s billable work at Band Three, Grade D rates for 2004 (as the handy hourly rate guide on the inside cover of the book advises). Utter madness.