The GHR are a commonly used reference for calculating recoverable hourly rates in litigation for different grades of fee earners in law firms in different parts of England and Wales.
The GHR have been frozen since 2010, making the Committee’s task all the more important and challenging.
Mr Justice David Foskett, the Committee’s Chairman, issued an appeal to solicitors, legal executives and other fee earners to take part in an online survey and provide evidence to the Committee:
“It is vital that we hear from as many firms and practitioners as possible so that the evidence-base for our recommendations is as accurate and representative as possible.
We have access to existing sources of data, but we have designed our own survey to supplement and cross-check this and to make sure that we have the information we need on the finances of running a modern legal practice.
I urge every firm engaged in litigation to take part. We have tried to design the survey to make it as concise as possible and it really is in the commercial interests of all firms to contribute – everyone will have a view on this issue and we need to hear those views and obtain the underlying financial information.”
The survey is to be completed online at Guidelines Hourly Rates Survey 2013 and will be available from 1 November 2013.
Mr Justice Foskett stressed that all responses will be treated in the strictest confidence and data identifying individual firms or practitioners will not be published or shared:
“We are acutely aware of the sensitivity of the information we are seeking, which is critical to our being able to make recommendations from a solid base of evidence.Even our expert advisers and members of the Committee will not know the identity of the respondents.
I would also like to reassure everyone that the Committee and the CJC are independent, judicially-chaired bodies. The Committee comprises a range of costs experts and practitioners, supported by senior economic academics. We have a completely open mind about the outcome of this exercise – which is why it is crucial that we receive comprehensive material.”
The survey will be available for completion from 1st-29th November and the Committee will meet in mid-December to consider the results and an expert analysis of all the data available.
The Committee will then issue a further call for written evidence and 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 by the end of March 2014. It then falls to the Master of the Rolls to take the decision on setting rates for 2014. The process will then become a continuing exercise.
Notes to Editors
1.The online survey can be accessed here –https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/about-the-judiciary/advisory-bodies/cjc/GuidelineHourlyRatesSurvey2013
2. The membership of the Committee can be found here – https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/about-the-judiciary/advisory-bodies/cjc/working-parties/costs-committee.htm#headingAnchor3
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 can be found here – https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications-and-reports/guidance/index/guideline-hourly-rates-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 sufficient strength to vary the rates.