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Jackson Day came and went and the world carried on. (Unless, since writing this, North Korea has triggered nuclear Armageddon. In which case how are you still managing to read this and why does the latest from the Legal Costs Blog still feature on your list of priorities?)
Are solicitors ready? The Law Society has managed to publish a new model conditional fee agreement. This comes with the disclaimer: “This model agreement is not a precedent for use with all clients”. Some commentators are already raising enough concerns about the wording of the agreement that would suggest the disclaimer would have been better worded to say the agreement “is not a precedent for use with any clients”.
Is the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers ready? Well, they still seem to be fighting the last war (the anti-Jackson one that they lost) and are busy putting out press releases with the grossly misleading headline that “Public denied justice as ‘no-win no-fee’ ends”. As Kerry Underwood notes: “That heading is simply untrue”.
Is the Costs Lawyer Standards Board ready? Unless they publish something today (and one or two days notice might have been nice) amending the Statement of Rights we will have the first day of costs budgeting with Costs Lawyers having no “right” to participate in the same. I note the CLSB is pushing to extend its remit to cover Trainee Costs Lawyers. Perhaps it should prioritise on dealing first with the matters it already does have responsibility for.
Are Costs Lawyers ready? In an extraordinary open letter to the ACL Council published in Costs Lawyer magazine, Michael Bacon, President of the Association of Costs Lawyers, and Matthew Harman, immediate past President, complain that “there has been nothing at all by way of guidance or support from the Association” in relation to the Jackson reforms and urge immediate steps to “give [members] guidance on the new rules and the practicalities of implementation of the Jackson reforms”. Remember, Costs Lawyers are meant to be the “go to” professionals during this period of change. Bacon and Harman go as far as calling into question the need to continue their membership of the ACL as they “cannot see the value of remaining as members”. With friends like that…
Jackson’s final report was published in January 2010. One might have hoped a more seamless introduction and transition would have been possible.