Association of Costs Lawyers

The May 2010 edition of Costs Lawyer magazine reported the chairman of the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen’s (as it then was) view that:

“Mr Stark is convinced that Associate and Fellow levels need to be abolished, so that there are either students or costs lawyers. He does, however, appreciate that this change is going to have to be sold to those Associates and Fellows who have no need for the rights costs lawyer status brings.”

In July 2010 the ALCD announced that the categories of membership would be reduced to two: Costs Lawyer and Student. Iain Stark, chairman of the Association wrote:

“the re-structuring of the membership is vital if the ALCD is to move forward as an approved regulator”

And so it came to pass.

I now note from the December minutes of the Council of the Association of Costs Lawyers that:

“ACL membership categories were discussed. There will be a complete review of the categories in April.”

I’m not sure if any consultation is proposed but I offer a modest proposal. A new category could be introduced for those law costs draftsmen who do not require rights of audience or the right to conduct costs litigation. They could be called, oh, I don’t know, lets say “Associates”.


12 thoughts on “Association of Costs Lawyers

  1. Shackles nearly off.

    Clearly this was a priority whilst you were on Council Simon. Low blow!

    Your quote could be read a number of ways, even may I suggest to exclude those who do not have the Associations best interest at heart.

    Hey Ho – lets see what the new Council decides after April in particular which direction a new Chair takes the Association.

    As ever your truly.

  2. This wasn’t intended (entirely) as a cheap shot.

    As the reality of CLSB regulation sinks in (with the CLSB saying Costs Lawyers don’t need to be members of the ACL) and with the full implications of the impact of Jackson becoming apparent, a full review of the future direction of the ACL is inevitable.

    It will be interesting to see what vision for the future those standing for the Council have.

  3. I attended the costs conference last week in London in which Iain Stark gave a talk on cost budgeting and provisional detailed assessment. I rated you as ‘excellent’ in the feedback forms. The content and presentation was strong.

    I’m a cost draftsman with over 12 years experience and I have never been been a member of the ALCD/ACL. Iain proudly announced he was a costs lawyer and not a cost draftsman.

    He gave the following points as to why one should instruct a costs lawyer

    1) They carry insurance
    2) They have rights of audience
    3) First tier complaints procedure

    Well, as a cost draftsman I also have the following:

    1) PI Insurance up to £2 million
    2) Rights of audience via my instructing Solicitor
    3) A complaints procedure

    I personally think the ACL are letting themselves down, they should not just represent the interests of costs lawyers but represent the entire industry of cost draftsman.

    Good luck.

  4. The position with regard to the ACL and CLSB is somewhat confusing, I wonder in some ways what is the advantage of being a member of the ACL, what more does this give us apart from extra fees to pay on top of CLSB?
    It appears that the concept of the regulated Costs Lawyer has maybe parted from the original concept of the ALCD as it was then.

  5. @ Yes, I am a Law Costs Draftsman:

    totally agree with everything you say, but you do let yourself down by referring to ”costs draftsman” at the end of your post, rather than ”costs draftsmen” – are you a costs negotiator by any chance?

  6. I note that the CLSB state on their website that costs lawyers with practising certificates are:

    “Qualified, having undergone a 3 year qualification subject to final examination.”

    This is very odd.

    I know three costs lawyers:

    One joined as an associate and then got an upgrade to a fellow and then attended the advocacy talk (it is not a course, it is a talk.)

    The other joined as a fellow having got a reference from a judge, he then attended a talk on advocacy.

    The last passed the fellowship exam and then attended the talk

    NONE of these passed an exam after a three year course. Two have never passed any sort of costs exam.

    It is a bit worrying that the regulator of Costs Lawyers is misleading the public don’t you think?

    Perhaps someone needs to tell the LSB.

  7. Why the animosity, if you’re good you’re good, if you’re bad you’re bad no matter what your title is?!

  8. Costs Lawyer is an ridiculous term thought up by idiots that have too much time on their hands who sat in a room drunk for two days and didn’t pass an exam.

    As for the ACL or whatever they are calling themselves this week, it’s the same as in the 90s when the ALCD were so occupied with drumming a prominent member out of the ALCD for sleeping with someone else and failed to get a seat at the table during the advent of the CPR. Same again this time. Costs Draftsmen / Lawyers are losing their living and the ACL has done zip. Disband it, give me back my £100.00 ransom and let us practice as we always have done.

  9. Mr Stark, dont worry me old mate, simon has nothing better to write about so he has decided to have a go at the ACL. No wonder he didn’t last long on the council did he!!! obviously out of his depth and outclassed.

    Mr Stark you have done a stirling job during a huge period of unrest and change within the legal profession. I don’t see anyone with balls big enough to take your place!! Simon, lay off unless you can do better of course!!!

  10. WYWH – I have to agree. There has been a marked improvement in the Association in the short time that I have been a member. I note that a Costs Lawyer is to be included in the new Costs Committee, which is great news.

  11. I have been self employed for 8 years, I have professional indemnity insurance, no claims have been made over that period, I do roughly 7 hours CPD per year. I have been thinking of joining ACL but I cannot imagine I will have time for course and exam certainly for next two years. Then I thought about the benefits of joining and I genuinely couldn’t think of any, can anyone else?

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