Welcome to this month’s newsletter which looks forward to some of our future events and reports on those which have happened recently.
The impact of the Jackson Reforms continues apace. Following the success of our last survey with the New Law Journal we are again seeking members’ views on the effect of the Reforms. Further details are set out below.
With the costs of litigation coming under increasing scrutiny, January saw the deadline for submissions in response to the consultation on Court fees and for further submissions concerning guideline hourly rates. We explain in this newsletter how the LSLA has approached these.
To reflect the manner in which our practices are developing we are proposing changes to our constitution to open up membership to foreign qualified lawyers and employed barristers. We will be discussing these at our AGM in March. Please do consider these proposals and let us know your views.
New Law Journal Survey – open now until 28 February 2014
The results of the survey we, along with the New Law Journal, conducted of members’ views of the Jackson Reforms received wide publicity at the end of last year.
We recently announced a second joint survey looking at how much has been achieved or has changed as we approach the first anniversary of the Reforms. We hope that you will respond to it to add your voice to the growing calls for further reforms to ensure the measures introduced by Lord Justice Jackson achieve their stated objectives of reducing the costs of litigation and improving access to justice to potential claimants and defendants alike.
You can find the survey at http://resp.survey01.net/servlet/survey?surveyId=NDA2OTAS1 and we request your response by 28 February 2014.
JLSLA Spring Seminar - 26 February 2014
Entitled “How to Deal with an Insecure Client: Top Tips on Making and Resisting Security for Costs Applications” the JLSLA’s spring seminar features speakers Lina Mattsson (Hardwicke Chambers), Oliver Gayner (Litigation Funding Manager, Burford Capital) and Mark Thomas (Law Costs Draftsman, Evolution Costs).
The seminar will be an informal and practical guide to the issues facing clients and their legal advisors when applying for or resisting applications for security for costs. The panel will provide you with their top hints and tips on how to deal with common problems and pitfalls.
The seminar will be held at the offices of Baker & McKenzie, 100 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6JA. Attendees are welcome from 6pm and the seminar will start at 6.30pm. The seminar will last approximately an hour. CPD points are available. Tickets cost £10 for members and £15 for non-members.
A copy of the flyer for the event and application form for tickets is attached.
AGM and Dinner – 11 March 2014
Proposals for Amendment of the Constitution
We propose to amend our constitution to allow foreign qualified lawyers and employed barristers practising as litigators in Greater London to apply for membership. Having considered this issue over a couple of years we believe the proposal reflects the manner in which many of our practices have developed.
We should appreciate your views on the proposal and you are invited to attend the AGM at Hogan Lovells to discuss it. Notice of the AGM and details of the proposals to amend the constitution should already have reached you. In case they have not we attach further copies.
We are also inviting applications for committee membership. We are particularly interested in hearing from those of you who practice in the areas of defamation and personal injury (both claimant and defendant).
Under clause 21 of our constitution, candidates for election to the committee should be proposed and seconded by members of the Association. The name of each candidate, with the names of their proposer and seconder, should be sent to our Secretary, Gavin Foggo, at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 14 days before the AGM (ie by 25 February 2014). None of the candidate, proposer or seconder need be present at the AGM.
Lord Justice Briggs will be our speaker this year. His final report into the proposed modernisation of the Chancery Division was published on 17 December 2013 (see http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/media/media-releases/2013/jo-press-release-cmr-final-report), so we look forward to hearing his views. The dinner will take place under the Chatham House rule.
Details were circulated recently and we enclose a further copy of the application form for tickets.
Spring Lecture Series
We are currently putting together of our Spring Lecture Series which we hope to announce in the near future.
MOJ – Court Fees: Proposals for Reform
In December 2013, the MOJ announced a consultation into its proposals for reform of Court fees. Proposed changes include: daily hearing fees in some claims, some increased fees, in some instances a sliding scale of fees depending on the value of claims and options to cap fees in larger claims. Full details of the consultation can be seen at https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/court-fees-proposals-for-reform.
Due to the volume of comments we received from members expressing sometimes very differing views we obtained an extension to the deadline and filed our response at the end of last month. A copy of our response is attached.
CJC – Review of Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR)
Last year the CJC began its evidence-based review of the GHR by asking firms to complete an on-line survey concerning their expenditure. Members of the LSLA committee met with members of the CJC costs sub-committee to discuss the rates and Past-President of the LSLA, David Greene, also joined the sub-committee.
In January, the CJC invited us to provide further written feedback and to attend another meeting with members of its sub-committee, which Graham Huntley and Francesca Kaye did on 6 February. The six areas in which the CJC were particularly interested were:
- the possible use of GHR for detailed as well as for summary assessments, and the nature of any limitations placed on such use (ie value or complexity of case);
- the degree to which location can affect costs;
- assessing the level of the work undertaken or what level of fee-earner is reasonable for different types of work, including the position of legal executives and costs lawyers;
- the impact of changes in the GHR on smaller firms;
- the role of the GHR in more complex litigation, including clinical negligence and commercial work; and
- the assessment of a suitable profit margin for firms, taking into account different business models and types of work.
The CJC costs sub-committee plans to make its recommendations to the Master of the Rolls within the near future.
LSLA – RECENT PRESS
Since our last newsletter, committee members of the LSLA and JLSLA have written various articles for national publications including:
- 10 January 2014, New Law Journal, “2014 horror-scope” by Caroline Field (see http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/content/2014-horror-scope);
- 14 January 2014, Solicitors Journal, “Litigation 2014 – Costs budgeting, the Mitchell aftermath, and funding challenges” by Francesca Kaye (see http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/crime/procedure/litigation-2014-costs-budgeting-mitchell-aftermath-and-funding-challenges);
- 21 January 2014, Solicitors Journal, “Summary judgments: “realistic prospects” revisited” by Sophia Purkis (see http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/crime/procedure/summary-judgments-%E2%80%98realistic-prospects%E2%80%99-revisited)
- 7 February 2014, New Law Journal, “A sea change – Will Mitchell herald a whole new culture of conducting civil litigation” by Nicholas Heaton (see http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/content/sea-change-0)
- 11 February 2014, The Barrister quoted Francesca Kaye’s comments about MOJ’s consultation on Court fees (see http://www.barristermagazine.com/news-articles/litigators-warn-court-fees-reform-would-hit-business-and-economy.html)
- 11 February 2014, Solicitors Journal, “Mitchell: A survival guide” by Georgina Squire (see http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/crime/procedure/mitchell-survival-guide)
The form for any new members who wish to join is attached. If you are 8 years PQE or less you will automatically become a member of the JLSLA if you complete the section of the application form identifying your year of admission.
The LSLA also offers corporate membership to firms. Essentially, for £500 a firm with corporate membership can register an unlimited number of litigation solicitors working for it in London as members. Please contact Julian Copeman on email@example.com if you would like to take out corporate membership.
LIST OF SUPERVISING SOLICITORS
The White Book refers to the LSLA maintaining details of individuals who might be able to act as supervising solicitors for the execution of Search Orders. Our list continues to grow and is updated quarterly. We invite those suitably qualified to provide us with their details, including relevant experience, for inclusion on the list.
Our new website is nearing completion and will be launched in the near future. In the meantime, please bear with us whilst it is being rebuilt.
LSLA on Twitter and LinkedIn
Once our website is up and running we hope to be able to provide feeds to our Twitter and LinkedIn addresses.
The Junior LSLA
The JLSLA provides:
- seminars designed to offer practical tips on procedural and substantive legal issues commonly faced by junior civil litigators in an interactive and relaxed atmosphere;
- networking events for members to meet and form contacts in their peer group; and
- e-news on recent and future activity and key developments with the aim of ensuring that the junior perspective is reflected in the LSLA's responses to consultation papers.
The JLSLA is aimed at solicitors of 8 years PQE and less. Members of the LSLA will automatically become members of the JLSLA if they qualify by year of admission and complete the relevant section of the membership form (copy attached). The JSLA also has firm Champions, who act as the point of contact between the JLSLA committee and their firm.
If you are interested in joining the JLSLA or being the JLSLA Champion for your firm, please contact the JLSLA President, Caroline Field, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The JLSLA can also be contacted via their LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Junior-London-Solicitors-Litigation-Association-4438638/about?trk=anet_ug_grppro