The Master of the Rolls has confirmed that guideline hourly rates will increase from 1 January 2024 as part of wider costs reforms, announced today at the Civil Justice Council’s National Forum.
It was announced by Sir Geoffrey Vos that he would approve all recommendations of the Civil Justice Council’s review which was published back in May. This will result in the 2021 guideline hourly rates being increased due to inflation from next year, in accordance with the consumer price index. It has also been confirmed that a further working group will be formed, to look into the approach to be taken in relation to future guideline hourly rates. In relation to costs budgeting, Sir Geoffrey Vos accepted that these matters would need to be dealt with on a case by case basis, and that he would request that the Civil Procedure Rule Committee pilot a scheme to apply tailored approaches between differing areas of civil justice. In respect of costs management, the costs review recommended a tailored approach to suit different types of work, which is likely to be trialled in selected courts next year. Furthermore, it was also noted that the Solicitors Act 1974 may be looked into again in the not so distant future, following several recent judgments that have revolved around the legislation.
At this event, Lord Chancellor Alex Chalk also praised the recent extension of fixed recoverable costs for most civil claims up to a value of £100,000.00. He explained that the extension had been a ‘boost to access to justice at proportionate cost’ and addressed the uncertainty around how much litigants would have to pay. He also confirmed that this will promote further clarity and transparency for clients within their cases.
In conclusion, we should expect to see some changes in relation to the guideline hourly rates in 2024, and we will update you further should any further developments or changes become available.