Legal Costs

Short piece on ‘Today’ on Tues morning about costs in civil cases. I switched on as a clip of Lord Justice Judge opining about the state of civil justice was part way through. Evan Davis moved onto an interview with Bridget Prentice. Oh goody, I thought as I drove to court, something relevant to my line of work and NOT about banks. What struck me though was the complete failure of the piece to distinguish between court fees and legal costs. Unusually for Evan, who is pretty much always on the ball and whose faux naive questions make me chuckle, it sounded as if Evan himself had no appreciation of the distinction between legal costs and court fees (which are piffling in comparison to legal costs, at least unless you are a local authority issuing care proceedings). This was made worse by the fact that Bridget Prentice, in response to a question about ‘legal costs’, asserted that a low income claimant would know prior to issue that they would be able to be protected against paying these. It was apparent to a lawyer that she was talking about remission of court issue fees on a means tested basis but non-lawyers could have been forgiven for thinking that there was no risk of a costs order being made against a low income claimant, which of course is very much NOT accurate. Not helpful.

Did anyone else listen to this? Was it as confusing as I thought it was, or was I simply too distracted by the traffic on the M5 to listen properly to what was being said?

2 thoughts on “Legal Costs

  1. I did hear this report and it linked in with my work too. Court fee remissions are definitely not the same as reducing legal fees, which is what Jaggards do. They should not be confused but perhaps that is the ministerial line with the Jackson review ongoing.

  2. The piece certainly blurred the lines between legal costs and court fees. I also agree that the level of court fees is virtually irrelevant compared to that of legal costs. I made exactly the same criticism on the Legal Costs Blog: http://www.gwslaw.co.uk/blog/2009/04/apil-complains-about-excessive-costs-of.html .

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