Friday, 19 August 2011

Ministry of Slow

I just read a bulletin from one of my professional associations that tells me there is to be “no announcement on new guideline hourly rates for 2011 until the end of September or early October”.

So, what does that mean?

For the normal human beings amongst us, this is a reference to the arcane world of solicitors’ costs - but don’t switch off immediately because this point is quite amusing...

Since Lord Wolfe’s Civil Justice Review in 1998, we have had a process called summary assessment by which costs are quantified and ordered to be paid, by one party to the other, at the end of the majority of hearings lasting up to one day.  It’s often a bit rough and ready, but it works.

Solicitors legitimately charge different hourly rates but where costs between the parties are concerned the tendency is to use what is colloquially described as “the going rate”. To achieve consistency, we have what are known as Guideline Rates issued from London with figures to be applied in various regions all over the country.

In theory, these take effect from 1 January 2011.

Yes, you read the opening correctly.  It’s likely to be October 2011 before the MOJ manages to publish its guidelines.  Consequently, we shall have used the 2010 guidelines for at least ten months of this year

Guys, just bin it will you?  Perhaps if you start now there is an outside chance that you can come up with some (realistic) figures to apply with effect from 1 January 2012 – perhaps...

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