It was wonderful to welcome Lord Justice Birss and Alexander Hutton KC last month to our first in-person Roundtable in more than two years. Our Virtual Roundtables have become permanent fixtures in the intervening period, but there is something very lovely about seeing our clients and professional colleagues in person again. Both our speakers commented on the quality of the discussion – and we’ve had great feedback from attendees, one of whom dubbed it that rare combination of both very interesting and enjoyable!

The discussion centred on costs budgeting and guideline hourly rates for summary assessment, together with the implications of extending the fixed recoverable costs regime, pre-action costs and IT in the courts. These are the areas being looked at in the Civil Justice Council’s costs review which Lord Justice Birss is leading.

Contributions from the floor brought into the discussion topics as varied as the proposal to introduce costs budgeting in Australia, should costs budgets be considered by neutral third parties, could automatic directions be brought back, why counsel hardly ever advise on evidence anymore and whether judges should be encouraged to be more pragmatic when managing cases? There was also an intriguing suggestion from Lord Justice Birss that there could be an ‘off the peg’ model for costs budgeting in the future. To learn more about that suggestion and to read a full transcript of the Roundtable, please click below.

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