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Costs: Update on guideline hourly rates

The Civil Justice Council (CJC) Costs Committee held its first meeting on 16 April 2013. The principal points to come out of the meeting were:

  • For the purpose of setting the guideline hourly rates the evidence gathering exercise will require investigation of the costs of work and not just charge-out rates.

  • It should not be assumed that an increase in the hourly rates will be recommended. The Costs Committee has no initial view on what recommendations it will be making on what the rates should be.

  • It also has no view as yet as to whether distinct sets of rates should be recommended for particular areas of law, for example, personal injury or clinical negligence.

  • Although the terms of reference required the Costs Committee to make recommendations to the Master of the Rolls by January 2014, the end of March 2014 was a more realistic prospect, given the scale of the exercise and the impact of the numerous April 2013 reforms.

After the meeting, the Costs Committee sought the provisional view of the Master of the Rolls on the issues of timing of its recommendations and whether rates should be varied for particular areas of litigation. The Master of the Rolls replied on 22 April 2013 that the end of March 2014 would be acceptable, but stressed that he is keen for a new rate to be established. In relation to the second issue, he is willing to be guided by the Costs Committee.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.