Our fees, explained.

Did you know that, in cases where our clients act on a CFA basis for their clients, we also act on a no win, no fee basis when drafting their Precedent H Costs Budgets and recovering their costs?

What that means is that, if a Budget is drawn for a client, we do not charge for it at all unless the claim is won, and we do not raise an invoice until our client has been paid.

In respect of the costs of drafting a bill of costs and of negotiating settlement, we reduce our charges pro rata in line with the percentage reduction to our clients’ profit costs, meaning that it is in our interests as well as those of our clients to recover as much as we can on their behalf.  So, if we recover 70% of a client’s profit costs once all disbursements, VAT and Counsel’s fees are deducted, we reduce our time costs by the same 30% reduction that our client has agreed to accept.

If a case goes to assessment, we only charge what the court awards, both in respect of bill drafting costs and the costs of assessment process.

By charging for our time in this way, our clients only pay us what is recovered from the paying party, and in respect of hourly rates, the only time our rate will equate to more than the guideline rate for grade D fee earners set down by the Senior Court Costs Office is when we recover in excess of 74% of your profit costs.  And that seems like a good deal to us, especially since, in CFA cases, we will never ask to be paid until our clients have been paid.

Please get in touch if you would like more information on our fees and services, both in respect of costs and mediation work.

Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.

Why do I need a costs lawyer?

From time to time we are asked the same question, “Why do I need a costs lawyer, surely, I could do it myself?” It’s a fair question.

But while some solicitors deal with costs on their own cases, there are a number of very good reasons why working with an experienced costs firm like BarnsChapel Ltd could ensure that you spend more time doing what you do best, while generating the maximum return by way of costs recovery. For example.

  1. Better for your bottom line: Our hourly rate is lower than yours, meaning that any work done will cost you less than you could earn spending the same amount of time doing other fee earner work.
  2. Specialists in the field: We are trained to fully understand what can and cannot be claimed, thereby maximising costs recovery without claiming costs which are not recoverable and might bring your bill or budget into question.
  3. Up-to-date expertise: It is our job to know the current legislation and case law relating to costs. This means that you do not need to keep on top of recent developments and can concentrate on progressing your cases whilst leaving your costs work in trusted hands. This is particularly important when preparing Points of Dispute and Points in Reply.
  4. Cradle-to-grave service: We can deal with the drafting of budgets and bills, negotiations and, where necessary, undertaking advocacy at assessments. As a consequence of this seamless approach, we completely understand the strengths and weaknesses of each of our cases and can provide the best possible advice and outcome for you and your clients.
Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.

A warm welcome to our new team member!

We are delighted to welcome Evie Spurdle to the team at BarnsChapel.

Evie has joined us as a Legal Assistant, and will take over some of the costs work and administrative tasks currently undertaken by our Office Manager.

With myself, my husband and my daughter all now working for BarnsChapel, we truly are a family firm.

If we can assist you with any of your costs or mediation needs, please contact me at louise.spurdle@barnschapel.co.uk or by calling on 01244 256865.

Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.

Happy Anniversary!

A year ago today we started our new costs and mediation business. We expected to face many challenges but knew we had people waiting in the wings to support us.

Thanks to our clients' support, BarnsChapel's first year has been all that we hoped it would be and much, much more. Thank you to everyone who has provided us with work and been patient with us when we have been busy. Thank you, also, to those who have contributed to getting the work done. Without all of you there would be no anniversary.

Louise Spurdle

Director, Costs Lawyer, Accredited Mediator

Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.

Thank you to all our clients

BarnsChapel Ltd. has now been in business for just over six months, and what a period it has been!

Since we opened our doors, we have been extremely busy and have been overwhelmed with the kind words and positivity from our clients, and for this we are very grateful.

We have enjoyed every minute of being able to offer an outstanding Costs and Mediation service and could not have imagined that we would have so much support from the very beginning. Thank you to all of you who have instructed us – it has been our pleasure to be able to assist.

If you have yet to join our list of satisfied clients and need to instruct a Costs Lawyer or Mediator, please send us a message via our Contact Us page, or call on 01244 256865.

We look forward to working with you all in the future.

Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.

Defendants would have been wise to instruct a Costs Lawyer

In National Bank of Kazakhstan & Anor v The Bank of New Your Mellon SA/NV, London Branch & Ors [2021] EWHC B7 (Costs), the Defendants failed to have a default costs certificate set aside and were ordered to pay US$3million in costs.

Following service of a notice of commencement upon them on 15 December 2020, the Defendants failed to serve points of dispute and a default costs certificate in the sum of US$3million was lodged.

The Defendants lodged an application to have the default costs certificate set aside, however, it is normally a requirement that such an application is supported by evidence.  The Defendants failed to attach points of dispute to the application.

Whilst the Court is permitted to set aside the default costs certificate if there is good reason to do so (CPR 47.12(2)) and the application is filed promptly, it is expected that, in order for the application to succeed, the applicant must file with it a copy of the bill of costs, the default costs certificate and the draft points of dispute it intends to serve in the event that the application succeeds.

In applying the three-stage Denton test, Costs Judge Rowley refused the Defendants’ application, saying the following:

i)"There is no doubt in my mind that the failure to comply with the time limit for serving points of dispute is a serious breach of the rules and it clearly has a significant consequence on the paying party who is, absent relief, prevented from taking any further steps to challenge the receiving party’s bill" (Denton stage 1).

ii)"There is no good explanation for the breach. There was simply an oversight which cannot be a good reason" (Denton stage 2).

At paragraph 31 of his judgment, he went onto say:

“Having received a default costs certificate, I would have expected the speed of instruction of costs lawyers to have increased rather than decreased.”

and at 32:

“Moreover, I would have expected any litigation firm to have links with external costs lawyers so that instructions could be sent immediately. In these days of costs budgets and Costs and Case Management Hearings, the interplay between cost lawyers and instructing solicitors goes far beyond the traditional instruction of a cost draftsman to prepare a bill (or points of dispute) at the end of a case when the substantive proceedings have concluded.”

In going onto consider all the circumstances of the case, as required by the third stage of the Denton criteria in order to allow the court to deal with the application fairly, Costs Officer Rowley dismissed the Defendants’ application on the basis that they had failed to act promptly in “providing material on which the court’s discretion may be based”.

Costs Officer Rowley’s advice is clear: instruct a Costs Lawyer early on and develop links with them so that they can be called upon in an emergency, if needs be.  Contact BarnsChapel at info@barnschapel.co.uk or 01244 256865 to discuss your costs needs.

Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.

Changes to CPR Part 36 coming into force in April

The changes to CPR Part 36 coming into force in April 2021 could have a potentially expensive impact on late acceptance of Part 36 offers.

An additional paragraph at the end of CPR 36.5 is to be inserted, which reads:

  • “(5) A Part 36 offer to accept a sum of money may make provision for accrual of interest on such sum after the date specified in paragraph (4). If such an offer does not make any such provision, it shall be treated as inclusive of all interest up to the date of acceptance if it is later accepted.”

It is important to note that, if there is no provision included for interest to be accrued after the date of expiry of the offer, the default position is that the offer will be treated as inclusive of interest up until the date it is accepted.  Parties making Part 36 offers to accept a certain sum should therefore, as a matter of course, make provision for the accrual of interest from the date of expiry of the offer.

The change to Rule Part 36 effectively codifies the decision of the Court of Appeal in Calonne Construction Ltd v Dawnus Southern Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 75 in which it was held that, in circumstances where the offer included provision for additional interest to be paid after the offer had expired, the settlement sum was inclusive of interest until the date of expiry, and thereafter interest at a rate of 8% per annum was to be added.

Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.

Ministry of Justice Housing Mediation Pilot Scheme

Louise Spurdle is pleased to be a member of the panel of mediators who will be involved in the Housing Possession Mediation Pilot Scheme.

The Society of Mediators tendered for the contract when the Government announced the Scheme.  It is hoped that it will offer an alternative to court proceedings to some landlords and tenants in the private sector.  The project goes live on 1st February.

Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.

Interim statute bills, the right to challenge them and special circumstances

In Masters v Charles Fussell & Co LLP EWHC B1 (Costs), in a Solicitors Act assessment of costs, it was held by Master Rowley that bills rendered to the Claimant were not interim statute bills and therefore the Claimant still had a right to challenge them, saying, at paragraph 28:

  • “…in order to “make it plain” to a client that he is receiving an interim statute bill, it seems to me that the information given at the outset needs to make clear that there are time limits and indeed give some indication of what those time limits are. The idea that several months, or, in this case, years after the engagement letter and terms and conditions were provided, the client ought to be alive to the fact that he has an entitlement under the Solicitors Act if he challenges bills promptly, seems to me to be far-fetched. There is no mention of the Solicitors Act on the invoices even to prompt such a recollection.”

In the same judgment, in addressing the issue of special circumstances, Master Rowley said at paragraph 66:

  • “…the obvious difficulty in clients bringing proceedings on a monthly basis against their solicitors in order to protect their Solicitors Act rights regarding assessment is always a powerful argument in respect of special circumstances. That is particularly so where the overall sums claimed are large.”

The judgment can be located here: Masters v Charles Fussell & Co LLP [2021] EWHC B1 [2021] EWHC B1 (Costs).

Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.

Beware CPR Part 36.13(4), especially if your conduct has been less than perfect

The case of Pallett v MGN Ltd [2021] EWHC 76 (Ch) highlights an anomaly in relation to Claimant Part 36 offers, specifically at CPR 36.13(4).  That rule allows an offeree to accept a Part 36 offer out of time, thereby entitling it to ask the court to determine the liability for costs in an effort to avoid paying those costs.

Given that Mr Justice Mann stated that each case would turn on its own facts, claimants would do well to remember that such offers, if accepted out of time, could lead to the court disallowing their costs or even ordering costs against them.

Claimants should therefore be sure to engage in negotiations as to fail to do so may be to their own detriment.

 

Why not find out more about how we can help? Call us on 01244 256865 or send a message via our contact page.