Costs Hearings

As they say hindsight is always 20/20 vision. I did however not need retrospective glasses to predict the difference replacing cost committees with in-camera solo ICA determinations would make. If anything it has been worse than anticipated.

We now have a situation where auditors feel free to engage in any amount of makeitupaswegoalongery in the hope that an ICA will back them up. Sadly, often they do.

Now I ended up hating cost committee advocacy, particularly given the existential nature of many of the contract compliance related hearings. One undoubtedly positive aspect of contentious hearings however was that someone from the LSC had to turn up and justify their decisions. On plenty of occasions they would concede a point realising it was not arguable. We now have a generation of LAA nil assessment warriors who have never had to fight their corner in an independent tribunal. I would happily put aside my personal antipathy in order to challenge some of these “creative” interpretations of contract. Mind you on the one occasions we persuaded an ICA to convene a full panel the LAA couldn’t be bothered to turn up – its not as though they are without capable advocates.

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2 comments on “Costs Hearings

  • This was always a terrible idea that was brought in with the only reasons being to reduce costs by a few pence and in my view isolating ICA’s and allowing the LAA to pick their appellate court.
    I have seen costs adjudicators reasons which are awful but there is now no way of eradicating that, previously we would be a group of 3 and could discuss the cases before us, now if I wanted I could decide the appeals whilst in the toilet ( I don’t by the way!)
    What really worries me and it always has done is that the ‘training’ given to ICA’s is given by the LAA the very people whose decisions are being appealed against, that cannot be right.
    To show my fairness can I just add that some of the flies that cross my desk as an ICA are appalling, I have little sympathy for an appellant who can’t provide a file that I can easily follow to decide upon what they have done is reasonable ! I have about as much sympathy as the LAA assessment by rote, ” the phone call is less than 12 minutes long…. Therefore in accordance with costs guidance it has been reduced to a routine call !”

  • I by and large tend to appeal reasonably good files but understand where you are coming from.

    Another benefit of the hearing is that fairness is seen to be done. I rarely had a case which felt as though we had not had a fair hearing.

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