LSB finds Herbies’ costs too much

Public interest litigation costs and funding have attracted considerable attention recently and now a fight between elements within the legal profession has shone a rather bright light on the issue.

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is no longer advising the Legal Services Board over a judicial review to prevent the implementation of the controversial Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) after submitting a £400,000 cost estimate for a three day hearing.

The firm has been going head to head with Baker & McKenzie and Blackstone Chambers, which are representing the Criminal Bar Association (CBA), which wants to stop the new grading scheme for criminal advocates.

The two sides’ war over costs illustrates the very current issues of public interest funding for litigation cases. After cuts to legal aid, protective cost orders enabling judicial reviews into public bodies could be a hot topic.

It looks like HSF didn’t succeed in proving its point that this is a private matter: the CBA was granted a protective costs order for the case and all its lawyers are taking on its case pro bono.

Now all sides are waiting with bated breath to find out what sort of costs new LSB counsel Field Fisher Waterhouse will estimate. Keep your eyes peeled for the next stage of this battle about and within the law.

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