With effect from 31 October 2011 the CLSB became an Approved Regulator under the Legal Services Act 2007. Its regulatory work for the Costs Lawyer profession includes setting and maintaining standards, this is achieved by:
- Setting and overseeing education and training requirements that need to be met to qualify as a Costs Lawyer.
- Setting and overseeing continuing professional development (CPD) required of a CLSB authorised and regulated Costs Lawyers.
- Setting the professional standard expected of a CLSB authorised and regulated Costs Lawyers by way of a Code of Conduct and Practising Rules.
- Implementing disciplinary mechanisms for any CLSB authorised and regulated Costs Lawyer who might fall short of the professional standard expected of them.
The Legal Services Board oversees the work of the CLSB to ensure all regulatory provisions are met under the Legal Services Act 2007 and other prevailing legislation.
What is a Costs Lawyer?
Before instructing a Costs Lawyer we advise you check they are authorised and regulated by the CLSB. The register is on this home page, if in any doubt, contact the CLSB for clarification.
A Costs Lawyer with a current practising certificate is:
- Qualified as a Costs Lawyer.
- Regulated by the CLSB.
- Required to undertake continuing professional development (12 CPD points per year).
- Required to have in place a complaints handling procedure.
- Required to have in place a minimum level of professional indemnity insurance.
- Authorised under the Legal Services Act 2007 to undertake the reserved legal activities of:
(i) The exercise of a right audience.
(ii) The conduct of litigation.
(iii) The administration of oaths.
A client unhappy with the service of a Costs Lawyer has the right to refer their complaint to the Legal Ombudsman if the Costs Lawyer does not resolve the matter under their complaints procedure. Matters not resolved under a Costs Lawyers complaints procedure in relation to professional conduct may be referred to the CLSB.
What does a Costs Lawyer do?
A Costs Lawyer is a legal costs expert. The term “legal costs” is defined in guidance by the CLSB as “the remuneration of legal representatives (e.g. solicitors and barristers) which are controlled by statute or common law.”
Areas of legal costs in which a Costs Lawyer may become involved are:
- Costs payable “between the parties”.
- Solicitor and “own client” costs.
- Publicly-funded (legal aid) costs.
A Costs Lawyer undertakes the following legal services:
- Advice on the charging and recovery of legal fees and disbursements.
- Advice on litigation funding.
- Costs budgeting.
- Preparing schedules of costs.
- Preparing bill of costs for provisional/detailed assessment by the Court.
- Preparing points of dispute and replies.
- Attending court as an advocate on detailed assessment hearings.
- Arranges and attends Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
- Acting as an expert witness on legal costs matters.
- The administration of oaths.
Why you should think twice before instructing a Law Costs Draftsman or Costs Draftsman as opposed to a Costs Lawyer
The unfortunate reality is that anyone can set themselves up as a Law Costs Draftsman or Costs Draftsman without qualification, experience or regulation. For that reason, anyone considering instructing one should first check their authorised and regulated status. If they are employed by a firm of Solicitors regulated by the SRA then they will be authorised and regulated by the SRA. If they cannot prove their qualification, authorised and regulated status, then the consumer instructs them at their own risk as there will be no recourse to a regulator or the Legal Ombudsman. Further, they may not have any or adequate insurance cover in place and may not even have an internal complaints procedure.
We therefore restate the importance of establishing the qualification, authorised and regulated status of the costs person you instruct.