Software for Costs Lawyers


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Some time ago specialist costs counsel Mark Friston recommended to me Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software. I recently got around to purchasing a copy and have to admit that for someone such as myself who is, to put it mildly, “challenged” when it comes to touch typing this is a great product.

However, a word of warning. If you do any work from home this software is not ideal if you have recently acquired a small puppy. When checking my Advices, Points of Dispute and Skeleton Arguments I tend to find them peppered with phrases such as:

“Take that out of your mouth this minute Scraps”

“Down Scraps down I said down down I’m not going to tell you again down down no down down”

“Look what you’ve just done on the carpet you bad dog”

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and prosperous post-Jackson New Year from myself, everyone at Gibbs Wyatt Stone and Scraps.

Unfair funding methods


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Karl Tonks, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, writing in the New law Journal on the proposed reductions to the RTA portal fixed fees:

“Lawyers cannot reasonably be expected to run cases at a loss. But if implemented, the only alternative will be to turn claimants away or take legal fees from a claimant’s damages, which flies in the face of the principles of justice.”

I must have missed APIL’s decade long campaign to make unlawful any funding method other than CFA Lites.

Funding costs


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Quick update on the issue of how long it will take before bills of costs stop claiming for work relating to funding in light of Court of Appeal’s judgment, on 12 October 2011, in Motto & Others v Trafigura [2011] EWCA Civ 1150.

The answer appears to be in excess of 14 months.

I’ll keep you updated.

New proportionality test


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Solicitors, particularly in commercial litigation, will often inform their clients at the outset that it is unlikely there will be full cost recovery if successful and that recovery in the region of 70%-75% might be anticipated.

In April 2013 the new Jackson proportionality test will be applied to costs. Where a solicitor estimates that the likely costs to bring a matter to a successful conclusion will be £100,000 but the amount at stake is only £25,000 what advice should the solicitor give as to the level of costs recovery that can be expected?

Answers on a postcard.

Increase in PI small claims limit to £5,000?


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The government will today unveil its long-awaited consultation on increasing the small claims limit for personal injury cases from £1,000 to £5,000, a move that would decimate the workload of many law firms.

Getting the retainer right


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The Costs Law Articles Archive section of Legal Costs Central has been updated with an interesting article on the importance of getting the retainer right written by Simon Butler and Tom Rainsbury from 9 Gough Square, previously published in Solicitors Journal.

Costs Lawyer stress relief


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I note that the Costs Lawyer Standards Board has put in place cover with LawCare who offer a confidential advisory service to help lawyers cope with problems such as stress and depression.

What good timing.