Dispute Resolution Committee Respond to Guideline Hourly Rates Consultation

The Civil Justice Council review of guideline hourly rates has been eagerly anticipated by litigators, given that the rates have not been reviewed since 2010. The Dispute Resolution Committee of Birmingham Law Society has responded to the consultation and concluded that the methodology applied and the data relied upon was deficient.

Sophie Samani, Chair of the Dispute Resolution Committee for the Birmingham Law Society said:

Historically, guideline hourly rates were introduced as a tool not only to assist judges, but also to be broad approximations of actual market rates. If that is the case, the proper way to approach fixing guideline hourly rates would be to collate data from the marketplace of charge out rates, rather than analyse what was agreed between the parties or permitted in detailed assessments, which is bound to be lower. The Committee was firmly of the view that the market rates should be relied upon together with a test of proportionality.   Guideline hourly rates were considered to be so far below market rates as to be redundant but also unhelpful to clients who end up paying a larger shortfall as a result of the costs not being recovered from the paying party. A more fundamental review is needed for the future rather than merely tampering with the guideline hourly rates.”

You can read the full response here.