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New Guideline Hourly Rates from 1st October 2021


No doubt you are aware of the impending changes to the guideline hourly rates coming into effect from 1 October 2021.  We wanted to provide you with a quick update with regard to what these rates will be and how we think they will be applied.  We have also obtained invaluable input from the former SCCO Costs Judge, Master Haworth, and we are most grateful to him for this.

The new rates to be applied are listed in the table below.  It is worth noting that London 1 is reserved for “heavy commercial work” undertaken in London and seldom, if ever, applies to COP work.


  Grade A Grade B Grade C Grade D
London 1 £512 £348 £270 £186
London 2 £373 £289 £244 £139
London 3 £282 £232 £185 £129
National 1 £261 £218 £178 £126
National 2 £255 £218 £177 £126

It worth noting the following:-

  1. The new rates will be applied from 1 October 2021 but will not be retrospectively applied.  If you have any bills that awaiting assessment, there will be no point attempting to withdraw them and re-submit at the higher rates.  (This we learned from around this time last year when the PLK judgment first came out).
  2. Our understanding is that the 2010 GHR will be applied up to 30 September 2020 (unless you have terms to support PLK enhancements).  This view is shared by Master Haworth, who further comments his view that the costs officers are likely to apply the old rates rigidly in relation to costs up to 1 October 2020 (unless terms support the enhanced PLK rate).
  3. GHR with PLK enhancements will be applied from October 2020 (providing you have terms to support these enhanced rates).
  4. The new 2021 GHR will be applied from 1 October 2021.
  5. We would strongly recommend you review your terms of business on all existing files and ensure future terms are able to accommodate the new GHRs ahead of their implementation on 1 October 2021.  This will avoid any problems arising on or following assessment.
  6. We should also mention there will be a review within two years (rather than the 11 we had to wait for this time around).  Time will tell in this regard!

We also thought it would be worth reminding you of the continuing need to ensure the above rates will be applied where the court is satisfied they are reasonable and proportionate on the standard basis.

Further useful guidance was also set out in the consultation document of the CJC relating to the location of work undertaken.  It stated “where all or part of the work on a case is done in a different location from that of the solicitor’s office on the court record, the appropriate hourly rate for that part should reflect the rates allowed for work in that location, whether that rate is lower or higher (provided that, if a higher rate is claimed, a decision to instruct solicitors in that location would have been reasonable). The location of a fee earner doing the work is determined by reference to the office to which s/he is, or is predominantly, attached.”

As you may be aware, we provide details of the office from which the work has been undertaken within the narrative to the bill.  Should fee earner input be required from another office, this will be detailed on the hourly rates section of said narrative, which will ensure the appropriate rate is recovered.

We do hope the above information will assist you in preparing for yet more changes to the hourly rates.  As ever, we are on hand to answer any further queries you may have in relation to these issues.

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