Extension to Deadline for Costs Survey for New Guideline Hourly Rates

|Media Release

Mr Justice Foskett, Chairman of the Costs Committee of the Civil Justice Council (CJC) says:

“I am grateful to all those who have responded to the survey that closed officially on Friday evening (29 November). When the responses have been collated into a suitable format our expert advisers will be looking at them with a view to indicating to the Committee the extent to which the survey has added to the information that is already available from other sources. They have, however, said that it will be possible to accommodate in their analysis any further responses that are received within the next 10 days. We have received a few requests for an extension of last Friday’s deadline and, accordingly, feel that in order to maximise the return we should try to meet these requests if we can. I can confirm, therefore, that any response to the survey that is lodged online by 4pm on Thursday, 12th December, 2013 will be taken into account.

“We have also already received some responses to the call for evidence that was issued on Friday 8th November, 2013, for which we are grateful. Simply to bring the deadline for responding to that call into line with the final date for completing the survey, I can also confirm that any response received by the same time will be considered by the Committee.

“We would emphasise that the more responses that we receive, both in relation to the survey and to the call for evidence, the greater will be the evidence-base from which the Committee can work.

“I should like also to highlight the importance we attach to the confidentiality of the process. This is what I said in a speech made on 29 October on this issue:

“We are also conscious that we are asking for sensitive information. There is, however, no other way of performing the task we have been set than asking the kind of questions we have. We do want everyone to understand that the responses to the survey will be treated in the strictest confidence, held securely and used only for the purposes of the survey. Nothing will be published that discloses the identities of the respondents and indeed their identities will not be revealed to the Committee members, its economic advisers or anyone else without the express consent of the particular respondent. A handful of members of the CJC secretariat will be able to access each full survey just for the purpose of checking its authenticity and of ensuring that all the data is properly transferred to the experts and then to the Committee. Only I or the Vice-Chairman will know the identity of a respondent if there is some query that needs following up – otherwise we will not know it either. I do trust that that will give the reassurance that I quite understand people will want.

“I would simply add that it has not yet been necessary for either I or the Vice-Chairman to be informed of the identity of any respondent.”

The Committee expects to hold a small number of oral evidence sessions in early 2014.

The Committee’s report, making recommendations to the Master of the Rolls on GHR for 2014 is planned for completion at the end of March 2014. It then falls to the Master of the Rolls to take the decision on setting rates for 2014. This will then become an annual exercise.

Notes to Editors

1. The online survey. A word version and an excel spreadsheet are also available so that responses can be worked on, and saved as respondents work through it.

2. The membership of the Committee

3. The CJC Costs Committee assumed responsibility for advising the Master of the Rolls from the now disbanded Advisory Committee on Civil Costs earlier this year, and met for the first time in April 2013.

4. The current Guideline Hourly Rates, set in 2010.

5. The rates have not been updated since 2010 as successive Masters of the Rolls have not considered the evidence base for the recommendations made to be of sufficiently strength to vary the rates.

ENDS

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