The Courts are slowly accepting that these cases are very much now in the mainstream of litigation, they still do have their quirks which many judges consider separate them from the pool of general personal injury litigation.
These claims are far more commonplace than they were, and the list of Firms who offer to act for claimants is always growing.
The Courts are slowly accepting that these cases are very much now in the mainstream of litigation, they still do have their quirks which many judges consider separate them from the pool of general personal injury litigation. This is what our costs team have noted in dealing with those cases.
A claimant does not have to travel far to find a solicitor offering to dealing with an abuse case these days. As such defendants should only be paying the solicitors rates away from each claimant’s home address where it would be reasonable for a claimant to instruct them.
It is not all good news for defendants, though.
It is not uncommon for the court to allow Grade A or B rates for dealing with child abuse claims, particularly when it comes to taking instructions from a client or advising on quantum.
Equally, however, on such cases the court expects to see a significant degree of delegation to Grade C and D lawyers for the day to day work on the file and obtaining and reviewing medical records.
The question of whether these rates should be uplifted remains a risk for both parties but it should be remembered, there are far more junior lawyers in the criminal and family courts dealing with much factually worse and equally sensitive cases at far lower (i.e. LSC) rates.
The records in social care cases are important, often voluminous and can cover large periods of time – far more than one would expect in a standard personal injury case.
That does not mean that they require the attention of a Grade A, B, or even C lawyer to review them. More often than not trainee Solicitors; paralegals; or lawyers of a ‘Grade D’ status are more than capable of undertaking this task, and the Court is not unsympathetic to Defendants’ submissions to this effect on assessment.
Practice note: If you really want to save costs, having your own lawyers ensure records are disclosed in a reasonably presentable condition will save you the additional costs of the Claimant’s solicitor doing the same task ( at higher rates) before being sent to their expert.
It is rare that abuse cases require more than two experts – a psychiatrist on quantum and a social care expert on liability.
Historically, the pool of experts was small, but it has grown significantly (with variable quality) in recent years - although some of the most practiced experts in these disciplines are charging even more than the lawyers by the hour for their reports.
But, when presented with a claim for such costs, it does not automatically follow that such fees are proportionate in the eyes of the court.
The majority of abuse cases settle for modest sums. An expert fee of £5,000 for a settlement figure of £10,000 is unlikely to be seen as reasonable. Both parties need to cut their cloth accordingly to ensure that the costs of their experts are proportionate to the damages recovered.
Counsel is no exception. What was once a specialised (predominantly London based) pool, now operates nationwide.
But, does every case require an advice or a conference with counsel?
Given the potential remit for dispute on damages in light of any psychological or psychiatric damage suffered (or, perhaps, the risk of a Solicitor being sued if they undervalue a case) in our experience the Court tends to be sympathetic to a modest advice, but does baulk at JSM fees commonly sought at £7500 or thereabouts.
Law firm Browne Jacobson has collaborated with Wiltshire Council and Christ Church Business School on the launch event of The Council Company Best Practice and Innovation Network, a platform which brings together academic experts and senior local authority leaders, allowing them to share best practice in relation to council companies.
In the Autumn Statement delivered on 17 November, rises to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates were announced, to take effect from 1 April 2023:
Announced in September but scrapped on 17 November the investment zone proposals were very short lived. The proposal has now morphed into the proposal for a smaller number of clustered zones earmarked for investment.
Settlement agreements are commonplace in an employment context and are ordinarily used to provide the parties to the agreement with certainty following the conclusion of an employment relationship. There are already restrictions on the extent to which personal injury claims can be settled by a settlement agreement. There have also been numerous consultations about the use of non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses, particularly where allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination have been raised. In any event, it is clear that settlement agreements should not be used to prevent an employee from raising a protected disclosure.
On 2 November 2022, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the much awaiting case of Hillside Parks Ltd v Snowdonia National Park Authority  UKSC 30. The Court’s judgment suggests that the long established practice of using drop-in applications is in fact much more restricted than previously thought. This judgment therefore has significant implications for both the developers and local planning authorities.
In ‘failure to remove’ claims, the claimant alleges abuse in the family home and asserts that the local authority should have known about the abuse and/or that they should have removed the claimant from the family home and into care earlier.
Logistics company Eddie Stobart has been fined £133,000, after a series of failures which took place whilst excavation work was carried out, exposing its staff to asbestos.
This article is the second in a series to help firms take a practical approach to complying with the ‘cross-cutting rules’ within the new ‘Consumer Duty’ (CD) framework. The article summarises what it seems the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is seeking to achieve from the applicable rules (section 2 below) and potential complications arising from legal considerations (section 3).
Across the UK, homelessness is an urgent crisis, and one that is set to grow amid the rising cost of living. Local authorities are at the forefront of responding to this crisis, but with a lack of properties that are suitable for social housing across the UK, vulnerable individuals and families are often housed in temporary accommodation.
Two directors of a construction company were fined after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos from a plot of land. On 14 and 15 November 2021, Directors Anthony Sumner and Neil Brown, of Waterbarn Limited were involved in the uncontrolled removal of asbestos material from a plot of land in Grasscroft, Oldham.
An engineering company in Tyne and Wear was fined £20,000 after a worker fractured his pelvis and suffered internal injuries after falling through a petrol station forecourt canopy, whilst he was replacing the guttering.
Settlement agreements in an employment context are ordinarily used to provide both parties with certainty following the conclusion of an employment relationship – but what happens when there is alleged discrimination after entering into a settlement agreement?
The Digital Services Act (the “DSA”) has today (27 October) been given the go-ahead by the EU Council and will enter into force by early 2024.
Updates include UK Shared Prosperity Fund, contracts, Subsidy Control Bill, data controller liability, Government Covid-19 procurement and Highway Code revisions.
The complex and rather nebulous transitional subsidy control regime set out in the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement and the UK’s wider international commitments has made it difficult for public authorities and those working with them to proceed with certainty where subsidies are involved.
Investment zones have been introduced by the Conservative party to get the United Kingdom (UK) ‘working, building and growing’. They are to be designated sites which provide time-limited tax incentives, streamlined planning rules and wider support for local growth to encourage investment and accelerate the development of housing and infrastructure that the UK needs to drive economic growth. Processes and requirements that slow down development will be stripped back with the intention of attracting new investment.
Created at the end of the Brexit transition period, Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law that consists of EU-derived legislation retained in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was never intended to be a permanent arrangement as parliament promised to deal with retained EU law through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”).
It is clear that the digital landscape, often termed cyberspace, is a man-made environment, in which human behaviour dominates and where technology both influences and aids our role in it — through the internet, telecoms and networked computer systems, which are often interdependent. The extent to which any organisation is potentially vulnerable to cyber-attack depends on how well these elements are aligned.
Three months on from the commencement of the new statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICS) Anja Beriro and Gerrard Hanratty reflect on the main themes and issues that have come from the new relationship between local government and health.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have announced they will be carrying out a programme of inspections to primary and secondary school establishments from September 2022. The inspections will assess how schools are managing the risks from asbestos and meeting the Duty to Manage requirements, set out in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
The Procurement Bill (the Bill) has now been with us for about four months, during which time there have been a huge number of amendments proposed in the House of Lords (circa 320). Lately, there has been less mention of it — unsurprising, really, given everything else going on in politics recently — but here’s a summary of some of the key issues and themes so far.
Browne Jacobson has been named as a supplier on Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) Public Sector Legal Services Framework on Lot 1a – full-service provision (England and Wales) and Lot 2a – general service provision (England and Wales).
This article is the first in a series aimed to help firms get to grips on a practical basis with the ‘cross-cutting rules’ within the new ‘Consumer Duty’ framework.
The Government has announced a change to the categorisation of “small” businesses to reduce the amount of regulatory compliance (or “red tape”) required. Currently, SMEs (those with fewer than 250 employees) are exempt from certain regulations – such as the obligation to comply with gender pay reporting. With effect from 3 October, these exemptions will be widened to apply to businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
Browne Jacobson has been ranked as a Top Tier law firm in 25 key practice areas in Legal 500 UK 2023, the independent directory of comparative law firm performance. The firm also continues to underpin its status as one of the leading law firms in the East Midlands region with 16 Tier 1 rankings.
Welcome to our September edition of Public Matters, our monthly round-up of legal updates, news and insights for the public sector.
Since the UK left the EU and are now able to move away from the EU data protection regime, the UK government have implemented a national data strategy with the aim of reducing the burden on organisations but maintaining a high data protection standard.
The Chancellor’s recent mini-budget provided a significant announcement for business as it was confirmed that the off-payroll working rules (known as “IR35”) put in place for public and private sector businesses from 2017 and 2021 will be scrapped from April 2023.
Devolution is the transfer of powers in areas like transport, housing and skills in England and since the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 has been a much-discussed topic.
In this article we look at local authority companies and whether they are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. And for those that are, what information are they legally obliged to submit.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has published a consultation on proposals to require Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) administering authorities (AAs) in England and Wales to assess, manage and report on climate change risks.
The concept of Legal Project Management (“LPM”) is increasingly relevant to the delivery of legal services, both in-house functions and private practice law. This is unsurprising, LPM is crucial if lawyers are to add value by controlling budgets, communicate pro-actively on risk mitigation and costs, and manage time by resourcing to deal with pinch points in the project.
The Department for Education (DfE) have announced that the conversion of Donisthorpe Primary School in Leicestershire on 1st September marked the 10,000th academy conversion.
Welcome to our August edition of Public Matters, our monthly round-up of legal updates, news and insights for the public sector.
On 31 August 2022, the Court of Appeal handed down the Judgment in respect of the appeal case of HXA v Surrey County Council and YXA v Wolverhampton City Council .
This month, HM Treasury issued a consultation on Administrative Control Process for Public Sector Exits with draft guidance. They’re proposing to introduce an expanded approvals process for employee exits and special severance payments, and additional reporting requirements. If approved, the proposals will impact public sector bodies and those that do not have a specific right to make exit payments.