Reports on solicitors' fees review consultation and implementation of Taylor Review recommendations published

Jan 14, 2019

The Scottish Civil Justice Council (SCJC) Costs and Funding Committee has published its Report on the consultation on the Review of Fees in the Scottish Civil Courts: Fees of solicitors, together with a summary of its work to date on implementation of the recommendations contained in chapters 2 to 4 of Sheriff Principal Taylor’s Review of Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland.

Report on the Consultation on the Review of Fees in the Scottish Civil Courts: Fees of solicitors

The report summarises the responses received to the Consultation on the Review of Fees in the Scottish Civil Courts: Fees of solicitors and sets out key areas emerging from the responses. The responses generally supported modification of fees. Nineteen consultation responses were received and four key areas identified: commercial actions: personal injury actions, fixed fees and the hourly rate.

Analysis of responses also identified concern about the impact of fees and disbursements relating to technological management of documents. The Committee agreed to consider this feedback in future fees reviews.

The Costs and Funding Committee noted that there was limited material that would serve to inform its deliberations on setting of an appropriate recoverable hourly rate that underpins the judicial tables of fees. The Committee subscribes to the principle that any fee increases should, where possible, be evidence based. The consultation responses did not however provide clear evidence to demonstrate movements in solicitors’ costs since the last general increase in the level of fees in March 2014.

As an interim measure, the Council approved a recommendation from the Cost and Funding Committee to increase to the underlying hourly rate to fees of solicitors’ by 5%. The Act of Sederunt (Fees of Solicitors in the Court of Session, Sheriff Appeal Court and Sheriff Court Amendment) 2018 applied to new fees from 24 September 2018.

Sheriff Principal Taylor’s Review of Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland

A summary of the Council’s work to date on implementation of the recommendations in Chapters 2 to 4 of Sheriff Principal Taylor’s Review of Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland has also been published.

The review and implementation of the Taylor Review recommendations, developed by the Council’s Costs and Funding Committee, was combined with a wider restructuring and rationalisation of the rules regulating the taxation of expenses in civil proceedings.

At its November 2018 meeting, the Council approved two draft instruments, Act of Sederunt (Taxation of Judicial Expenses Rules) 2019 and Act of Sederunt (Rules of the Court of Session, Sheriff Appeal Court Rules and Ordinary Cause Rules Amendment) (Taxation of Judicial Expenses) 2019, for submission to the Court of Session, which will be made in due course.

The draft rules will recast the provisions for the taxation of expenses, reframe the table of fees to provide for unit-based charging and take account of recommendations in Sheriff Principal Taylor’s Review of Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland. 

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The SCJC welcomes feedback on any aspect of court rules. Please email your comments to the Secretariat scjc@scotcourts.gov.uk