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Deputy Master Peter Haworth comments on the increases CJC Guideline Hourly Rates

The Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos, has accepted the recommended changes to the guideline hourly rates and has asked that they be implemented from 1 October 2021. The announcement can be found here.

We asked Deputy Master Peter Haworth to share his thoughts regarding the increases.

About time too. The increases in hourly rates may look dramatic but the new published rates from 1st October 2021 haven’t increased since 2010. Hopefully implementation of the new rates will reduce Points of Dispute and Replies by at least 2 pages as well as endless hours of argument at detailed assessment.

One change of significance in the Guide is at paragraph 28, where it is made clear that Guideline Hourly Rates may also be a helpful starting point on detailed assessment. As before, the clue is in the title “Guide to the Summary Assessment of Costs”.

He quashed any fear that the new band for “heavy commercial claims for Central London would lead to forum shopping, commenting:

“Forum shopping to obtain the “heavy commercial rate” for Central London is unlikely to work in my view with CJ’s and DJ’s being vigilant only to allow only local rates. See paragraph 31.

  1. 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.”

Master Haworth finally commented on the guidance provided in terms or proportionality:

Useful guidance is given regarding how proportionality should be judged by reference to “West” at paragraph 15 and although a lot of the Guide is a rehash of previous editions, it will pay practitioners dividends to re-read what they think they already know.

Deputy Master Peter Haworth, Former SCCO Costs Judge, is A & M Bacon’s Brand Ambassador and Advisor.

Please do get in touch with the team regarding any queries you may have in relation to any of your legal costs requirements on 01733 350 880 or by email mail@aandmbacon.co.uk. For more information please do visit our website www.aandmbacon.co.uk.

Published 19 August 2021

Author – Sue Fox

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