Changes. We as humans don’t necessarily always embrace change, but it happens and we have to adapt to these changes. This is certainly the case in legal costs, with regular changes to the Civil Procedure Rules and ever evolving case law. The prime examples in litigation costs have been the introduction of costs budgeting in April 2013, and then the Electronic Bill of Costs in 2018, but everyone has adapted to these changes and they are now part of everyday life.
When the Government enforced “lockdown” on 23 March 2020, there was no option to think about this, it had to be complied with, and just like that, we were all working from home and change had happened. The impact on litigation was just as immediate. For example, some hearings and expert appointments were vacated quickly, whereas others have gone ahead via telephone or by various video platforms. Equally, settlements paused for a moment, but have now become more frequent, and Covid-19 is no longer a reasonable factor in delaying a mediation or settlement meeting, unless there are specific individual circumstances.
As restrictions ease slightly, there will be more changes to come in terms of solicitors and support staff possibly being able to access the office on a more frequent basis, whereas others will remain working as they are for several more weeks and possibly months.
We’re lucky when dealing with legal costs, as the majority of our work can be done remotely, we only need a laptop and a file of papers! For us at Paramount, working from home is now the norm and will remain so for the time being, but we continue to receive files and instructions, the Courts remain open and settlements are achieved.
Changes happen, some are for the better whereas some are harder to take, but it is good to reflect on them all, and embrace those changes that work for you.
Tom Brocklebank, Costs Lawyer & Head of Litigation
Direct Dial: 01228 815394
Email: [email protected]