LORD WOOLF - ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT

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ON RECOVERABLE COSTS

 

The costs recoverable by parties in respect of periods when they are or were litigants in person are governed by the Litigants in Person (Costs and Expenses) Act 1975 and by CPR 48.6.

 

 

Lord Woolf, responsible for legal aid cutbacks, reducing access to justice act

 

I'm all right Jack, and don't I look smug about it?



The costs of litigants in person can be divided into four categories:


1. Out of pocket expenses (such as court fees, fares travelling to court, witness fees, etc) if they relate to work or disbursements which would have been done or made by a solicitor had a solicitor acted for the litigant in person.
2. Payments made to obtain expert assistance in connection with assessing the claim for costs. For this purpose a person is an expert if he is a barrister, solicitor, Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives, Fellow of the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen, or a law costs draftsman who is a member of the Academy of Experts or the Expert Witness Institute.
3. Costs for work done by the litigant in person which caused him or her pecuniary loss (for example, a litigant in person who is employed losing a dayís pay through attending a court hearing or through going on a long journey to interview an essential witness).
4. Costs for work done by a litigant in person which did not cause him or her any pecuniary loss (eg, the examples just given if the work was done during leisure time).


PROCEDURE ON DETAILED ASSESSMENT


Generally speaking the procedure by which a litigant in person seeks to obtain costs from another party is briefly, service of a bill plus notice of commencement and certain other documents, obtaining a default costs certificate or, if points of dispute are served, serving a reply and/or filing a request for a detailed assessment hearing.
Where a litigant in person wishes to prove that he has suffered financial loss he should produce to the court any written evidence he relies on to support that claim and must serve a copy of that evidence on the paying party at the same time as serving the notice of commencement.

 

Judges outfit, wig, etc, Lord Woolf

 

 


CALCULATION OF DISBURSEMENTS


The litigant in person will be allowed all his reasonable disbursements in full if the costs officer or Costs Judge decides all of the following questions in his or her favour:
1. Were these disbursements actually incurred?
2. If so, at the time they were incurred, did it then appear necessary or at least reasonable to incur them?
3. Are the sums claimed for each disbursement reasonable in amount?
If, in respect of any disbursement the answers to questions (1) or (2) is no, the amount claimed for that disbursement will be wholly disallowed.
If, in respect of any disbursement, the answers to questions (1) and (2) are yes but the answer to question (3) is no, the costs officer or Costs Judge may allow a reduced amount for that disbursement.

Calculation of charges for time spent
The rules as to charges for time spent are more complicated. In order to determine them, the costs officer or Costs Judge must decide four questions:
1. What items of work were done and what time was actually spent on those items?
2. In respect of each item, how long was it reasonable for the litigant in person to spend? The time allowed may be less than the time actually spent by the litigant in person and more than the time that would have been spent by a solicitor, had a solicitor been employed to undertake that item.
3. What hourly rate or other rate is it reasonable to apply in respect of time reasonably spent by the litigant in person?
4. If all the items of work for which costs are recoverable had been undertaken by a solicitor, what would a solicitorís reasonable charges have been for doing such work?
There is no fixed rate at which pecuniary loss will be quantified. For example, a bank manager may be allowed more than a bank clerk.
There is a fixed maximum rate at which costs for work done in leisure time is recoverable. The current maximum figure is £9.25 per hour reasonably spent.
There is an overall limit on charges for time spent which can never be exceeded. The cost officer or Costs Judge cannot allow more than two thirds of the sum determined in answer to question (4) above.

 

 

 

 

ACCESS TO JUSTICE - LORD WOOLF


Chapter 17 - Litigants in Person

  1. At every level of the civil justice system litigants are bringing cases without any formal legal representation. A number do so from choice, particularly within the small claims scheme. Many more are forced to do so because they cannot afford the high and often disproportionate costs of legal representation and are not eligible for legal aid. The same reason leads to many more being effectively barred from access to justice as they either do not know of their rights to make or defend a claim or do not know how to do so. Notwithstanding their difficulties throughout the justice system, however, their numbers are increasing. The precise extent of the increase is unknown. It should, from now on, be monitored in cases where a defence has been served.

  2. Only too often the litigant in person is regarded as a problem for judges and for the court system rather than the person for whom the system of civil justice exists. The true problem is the court system and its procedures which are still too often inaccessible and incomprehensible to ordinary people.

  3.  I believe it is essential to the success of my proposals that the courts themselves should in future take a more pro-active role in relation to unrepresented litigants, both in giving information about sources of professional advice and other outside help, and in themselves providing direct assistance. Both court staff and judges must recognize the needs of litigants in person and, if necessary, adjust their approach so that there is no suggestion that they are being treated as an exception or even a nuisance.

  4. At the same time there is a need to improve the advice and assistance available and to ensure that litigants have early contact with whatever source of advice is available. Although the judge can preserve equality of ........

 

 

The Energy Age, Electricity Generation in Lime Park, Herstmonceux.

 

This book is about a building that Wealden's honest officers told the Secretary of State's

Inspector Dannreuther, was of no historic interest. Poor old Mr Dannreuther was so

duped by Wealdens solcitors and planning officers that he agreed with them.

The building in now on a Monument Protection Programme, thanks to English Heritage.

The present Secretary of State, Eric Pickles MP, has not replied to letters sent

by recorded delivery in over 3 months - he obviously want to avoid a scandal to get himself

re-elected. Is it not the duty of an MP (Sec of State) or whatever to represent the electorate?

 

We think you may enjoy how the then occupier of this historic building unravels the archaeology, with

help from the experts - in so doing painting WDC's officers either incompetent or dishonest.

We'll leave it up to you to decide from the facts.

 

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