More On Costs

I have had my head in Civil Cost Assessment Guidance (CAG) and CBAM for the first time in ages this week. I anticipate that civil appeals will become an increasing adjunct to our Cost Drafting arm in the months ahead. They are getting more aggressive, you need all your costs and they are getting more aggressive on the assessment KPI, “commercial write offs” are a thing of the past*.

At the same time we are working through heaps and heaps of financial stewardship assessments.

I have made this point before however it seems worth making again.

There is a world of difference between a line-by-line assessment of the reasonableness of a bill and that of the technical “proxies” which replace this consideration in any standard fee scheme. The CAG deals exclusively with the former and has NOT been amended to reflect this sea-change in any way whatsoever. Assessors, and the Contract Managers I mentioned yesterday, therefore have no guidance material which 1, makes this difference clear and 2, can assist them doing the job at hand. Indeed there is a strong argument that CAG actually encourages assessors to “misdirect” themselves, we must have seen hundreds where this line has been blurred.

There is therefore an urgent need for the comprehensive redrafting of Civil CAG – which I guess is not likely to happen soon.

*We charge on an “as paid” not “as drawn” basis so have a shared interest here.

About Author: SP

2 comments on “More On Costs

  • I doubt that it will be updated, once the current tranche of certificates issued prior to 9th May 2011 have gone to the big assessment centre in the sky, for the vast majority of Legal Services Commission staff no assessment of claims will be involved. They will just be checking claims, forms signed, disbursement vouchers provided, experts fees not over the codified rate without prior authority, Advocates forms completed correctly etc etc. There will be some assessments for work that falls outside of the fixed fees and FAS schemes, thought these will fall under the old CAG.

    On assessments my rule of thumb is appeal, even for small amounts, as they become emboldened by it and will keep on doing it, if not challenged.

    KPIs on assessments a different story.

  • Will be a fair few “exceptionals”I guess and they will remain a target. The NAO will never let them stop attacking Legal Helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *