Master of the Rolls slams Irwin Mitchell's 'out of kilter' costs

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  • What does lord neuberger know about running a business
    or a solicitors' practice? Precisely zero. Judges should be kept out of costs as they know damn all.

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  • @ Rural Bliss
    Insurers make more money from referral fees than they pay out in legal fees and yet they still drive up premiums using an easy target of blaming solicitors costs. Insurers are only trying to drive down costs now because the nest egg of referral fees is under threat.
    People seem to forget that insurers are the ones pushing people to claim and often refer them to the solicitors they attack over excessive fees.
    Look at fixed fees in RTA claims, they have not increased since being established in 2003 yet overheads including referral fees have increased annually.
    Insurance companies have the government firmly in their pocket at the moment so Claimant PI firms will have to start looking to expand into other areas as the writing is on the wall regarding reduced fees.

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  • People are slamming IM, but what about BLM?
    They agreed the £75k so presumably acknowledge their ill behaviour which pushed IM’s costs up. At that point surely BLM should have got out while the going was not-so good rather than adding insult to injury (pun intended) by then racking up no doubt sky high DA and appeal costs.
    I bet BLM’s bill to their insurer client was substantially higher than £75k come judgment day.
    Poor claimant billing structure or poor choice of defendant solicitor?

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  • Some interesting (and some predictable) responses.
    I agree that BLM probably are partly to blame. Unfortunately, it's just as much in their interests to rack up these ludicrous costs as IM's. What's wrong is a system that allows either side to do so.
    "Look at fixed fees in RTA claims, they have not increased since being established in 2003 yet overheads including referral fees have increased annually."
    Which simply proves that they were set far too high in the first place. When they were agreeed I don't recall any element of the claimant solicitors' costs proposals including a budget for referral fees.
    However, PI firms can afford to pay £500 or more in referral fees and yet are still keen to take on this fixed costs work, so even with that taken out of it they must still be making a decent profit out of the fixed costs.
    It's also not unusual to see firms advertising `£500 cashback' just to sign a client up to a PI claim.
    So please don't try to pretend there's only a modest profit in the fixed fee regime, it's quite obviously `fill yer boots' time.
    I suspect the claimant lobbies managed to con the MoJ originally into thinking the average unissued PI claim would involve 8 hours work by a qualified solicitor at a charge out rate (then) of £150 per hour, when in fact it probably involves 3 or 4 hours work by an unqualified paralegal whose charge out rate (then) would have been perhaps £40 an hour.
    "Claimant PI firms will have to start looking to expand into other areas as the writing is on the wall regarding reduced fees."
    Unfortunately for them (though fortunately for the rest of us) I can't see the MoJ being naive enough to set up the same gravy train again.

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  • the MR didn't actually slam IM regarding their costs, strictly speaking. His concluding comments in relation to costs (para 50) highlighted his concern with the civil justice system generally and proposals for reform:
    "Both my own experience in this court and the evidence contained in Sir Rupert Jackson's report on Civil Costs suggest that this is not a particularly exceptional case. It is therefore to be hoped that the changes which are in the process of being enacted and implemented in relation to civil costs and civil procedure will help ensure that costs become more proportionate."

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  • I am not surprised by Irwin Mitchell Costs being over the top in relation to the amount of damages actually recovered.
    It begs the question how many Senior fee earner's at high charge-out rates had input in this particular case including lower fee earner's involved on a Training exercise in support.
    Of course IM wanted the matter to proceed to trial so that they can make as much money as possible.
    However, the Defendant (BLM) should have make their best offer (Part 36) at the earliest opportunity to put the claimant at risk on the day, if necessary.

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  • Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of ambulance chasing fee churners.

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