Update on Model Form Bill of Costs in England and Wales

LEDES Oversight Committee Standards Board Member David Nelson reports:

For all law firms that conduct civil litigation in England and Wales, Lord Justice Jackson delivered a keynote speech at the Law Society’s Civil Litigation conference yesterday (Thu 21st April 2016) regarding the new Bill of Costs and the J-Codes.  The text of Lord Justice Jackson’s speech is available here: Jackson talk on new bill of costs.21.4.16

Background for your information: 

As you may be aware, the judiciary in England and Wales asked Lord Justice Jackson to conduct a review of the way costs are presented to and assessed by the courts. This was known as the Jackson Review of Civil Litigation Costs in England and Wales, simply referred to as the ‘Jackson Review’.

Several recommendations were made by Jackson LJ in his final report in the area of the inter-parte Bill-of-Costs, with the aim of reducing the preparation lead-times involved in producing the bill and improving the assessment of it (and reducing the time it takes to assess).

A committee was set-up to work on realising these recommendations, now known as the Hutton Committee – it is chaired by Alex Hutton QC and its members consist of representatives from a broad section of the legal industry, including Costs’ Lawyers, a Costs’ Judge; Legal Firms and company directors, and a representative from the ACL.  The LOC participated by virtue of having David Nelson (LOC standards director) serving as the project coordinator on the Committee.

The committee delivered two work products – 1: the J-Codes and 2: the new model form Bill-of-Costs (for inter-parte costs to be presented to the court at the conclusion of the case). The J-Codes were ratified by the LOC in September 2014 and are a valid UTBMS standard. They can be used for eBilling if the client requires them and the vendor has them configured (the LOC hopes that they have by now). The new Bill-of-Costs is currently under voluntary pilot in the SCCO (Senior Courts Costs’ Office) until October 2016.

Much has appeared in the legal press about both the J-Codes and the new Bill-of-Costs, and there has been controversy which is too much to cover in this announcement.

The important take-away is that the new Bill-of-Costs is on the horizon, so law firms in England and Wales need to review it accordingly and consider how and when to start using it. Reviewing LJ Jackson’s speech may help in this decision making process.

Mergers & Acquisitions UTBMS Codes Now Available

The LEDES Oversight Committee is pleased to announce the ratification of a new Mergers and Acquisitions UTBMS code set.

The new code set was originally proposed by a task force on legal project management within the ABA M&A Committee in 2015.

The final code set ratified by the Board of the LEDES Oversight Committee in February 2016 represents a joint effort between the ABA M&A task force and the LOC M&A UTBMS Standards Development Subcommittee and includes input from law firms, corporate legal departments, legal technology vendors, and consulting firms around the world.

The codes are available here.

LEDES Oversight Committee Changes Membership Structure

On January 29, 2016 the LEDES Oversight Committee members enacted a change to the organization’s membership structure.

Previously membership in the LOC was limited to organizations.  An individual derived their membership in the LOC by virtue of working for a member organization.  Each member organization was able to designate one voting member, an alternate voting member, and an unlimited number of general (non-voting) members for the $200 yearly membership fee.  On initiatives presented to the membership for consideration, each organizational member was able to cast a single vote.  Importantly, when an individual discontinued working for the member organization, the individual lost their membership in the LOC.

In 2016 the membership structure has change to individual membership.  Now all LOC members have the right to vote on initiatives presented to the membership for consideration, and an individual’s membership will continue regardless of their employment status.

The only requirement to become a member in the LOC is that an individual “shall be … working, or having retired from work, in some capacity within or associated with the legal industry.”

The dues for individual members in 2016 are $95 USD.

If you are interested in participating in legal data exchange standards development, you can become an LOC member by using the application form here.

New UTBMS Subcommittee Forming – Volunteers Sought

The LEDES Oversight Committee is seeking volunteers for a new Development Subcommittee to create an UTBMS code set for Mergers & Acquisitions work.

The Subcommittee, which will be led by Linda Hovanec of Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions, will focus on creating the new M&A UTBMS Code Set. The subcommittee will meet periodically to draft the suggested codes, publish the set for public comment, and then attend to ratification of the new standard. If you are interested in participating in this effort, use the “Contact UTBMS” feature on this website.

Look for more on this effort in the coming months.

LOC Meeting Notice

LOC members will convene for our annual meeting on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 from 12:00 – 1:45 p.m. Eastern.  The meeting will be held during the Legal Tech New York Conference in the 2nd floor Mercury Ballroom at the New York Hilton (1335 Avenue of the Americas).  This is an open meeting and non-members are welcome to attend.  Our thanks to ILTA for providing on-site meeting space.

Simultaneously, we will convene a meeting of our U.K. members to allow them to participate in the meeting as a group.  A venue for this meeting has not been finalized.  To volunteer to host the London meeting or to RSVP to attend, please email Philip Knight (pdk@lsg.com).   On-site attendees for the London meeting should allow extra time to clear building security

EW-UTBMS Litigation ‘J-Code-Set’ for Use in England and Wales is Now Available

The LEDES Oversight Committee (“LOC”) has endorsed the new UTBMS Litigation Code-set for use in England and Wales – the EW-UTBMS J-Code-set.

Created by the Jackson Steering Committee for use within the judiciaries of England and Wales, the release of these codes marks the first stage in the Steering Committee’s objective to develop a new model-form ‘Bill-of-Costs’ for use by the courts in assessing costs to be awarded in litigation cases.

More information on this standard is available here.