The Civil Procedure Rules Committee held their annual open meeting on 15th May 2020. Given the present circumstances, the meeting was successfully held via Skype.
The previous two meetings covered several costs issues including the establishment of a sub-committee to make recommendations in respect of guideline hourly rates which have not been updated in the last 10 years. The committee is due to make recommendations by the end of this year with an update to the rates to take place thereafter.
The April minutes, which have just been released, confirm a that a sub-committee has also been established to consider costs rates other than guideline hourly rates.
The following costs matters were discussed at the open meeting in May, minutes of which will likely be published in June:
Vulnerable Parties – The sub-committee sought guidance on four points; an amendment to the over-riding objective to cover vulnerable parties, an accompanying PD, an addition to CPR44.3(5) regarding proportionality to specifically include vulnerable parties, and whether to approach the MOJ in respect of amending fixed, scale and capped costs for cases involving vulnerable parties. The committee broadly agreed with the proposals with some caution regarding the overriding objective.
CPR 45.18 – The committee agreed that the deletion of the upper limit of £25,000.00 from tables 6 and 6A would be recommended.
Qader v Esure– Issues had been raised following the amendments to CPR 45 Section IIIA concerning the effect on parties’ settlement tactics in matters likely to be allocated to the multitrack due to the difference in the level of costs recoverable pre and post allocation. The committee discussed the matter and concluded that no action should be taken.
QOCS / Ho v Adelekun – The issue of off-setting Defendant’s costs against Claimant’s costs where damages are insufficient has been referred to the costs sub-committee. The committee will keep a watching brief on the appeal in Ho and consider revision to CPR 44.14 thereafter.
Part 36 acceptance in pre-action matters – Where a Part 36 offer is accepted pre-action there is no deemed costs order (CPR 44.9(2)). The costs sub-committee will consider whether there is a need to amend CPR 46.14 regarding costs only proceedings to be explicit in respect of Part 36 acceptance on pre-action matters.
Helen Spalding is an Associate in the Costs and Litigation Funding Department at Clarion. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0113 288 5639.