The annual meeting of the members of the LEDES Oversight Committee is scheduled to occur via webinar on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 at 11:00 Eastern.  The meeting is open to members and all interested parties.  The meeting will include reports from Board members and Subcommittee head on the initiatives of the organization.  You can register to attend this meeting by using this link.   

Recognizing the global nature of legal ebilling, the LEDES Oversight Committee will shortly have available a version of the UTBMS code sets in simplified Chinese.  The project includes a natural explanation of the different legal processes included within the code definitions so that they are more easily understood in jurisdictions outside of the United States.  As soon as this first set is approved, we will quickly move to obtain translations into traditional Spanish, Arabic, traditional Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, German, French and Italian. 

Look for this new information on UTBMS.com in the coming months.  

This is the most expensive project undertaken in the organization’s history.  Unlike other organizations, the LEDES Oversight Committee does not have vendor or law department sponsors that underwrite our expenses, our revenue is derived solely from annual member dues, ($95 USD/year).  To support this project, consider joining the LEDES Oversight Committee.  

In 2020 the LEDES Oversight Committee is focusing on usability.  In this regard, we are working toward releasing versions of the UTBMS code sets better suited for use in non-US legal proceedings, meaning that we want to create versions containing descriptive language as opposed to using US-oriented legal procedural terms.  Once this is complete, we will then translate the UTBMS documents into simplified Chinese, traditional Spanish, Arabic, traditional Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, German, French and Italian.  

This project is being led by Director Jim Hannigan and is expected to take a year to complete.  One hurdle in this project is that many code sets were ratified by organizations other than the LEDES Oversight Committee, and we need their approval to move ahead with altering their original material. 

Our intention is to hire a legal translation company to assist with the translation.  A member law firm has already agreed to help approve the Chinese translations, to ensure everything makes sense before it is published.  Can you help us?  If so, please contact us using this link.  

It is our understanding that as the judiciaries of England and Wales move ahead with the electronic form bill of costs, it is no longer required that attorneys use the J-Code task and activity codes when recording their time or in the new model form bill-of-costs itself (the nBOC).  HOWEVER attorneys are required to use the hierarchy established in the J-Codes (in other words, use the J-Code task and activity code headings) in the nBOC, or use  an alternate time categorization system for litigation in England and Wales in the nBOC that is permissible by the court, in the same way as the J-Codes are and that it is at least as good as the J-Codes.  The J-Codes are inherently permissible, being drafted by the judiciaries own Hutton Committee in collaboration with the LOC and authorized by three leading judges.

While firms can establish their own code numbering schema using the J-Code hierarchy, THEY MUST ALSO provide a worksheet in the electronic form bill of costs that translates the codes used into the headings.

The LEDES Oversight Committee recommends that firms simply use the J-Codes as elaborated here, as most firms will be familiar with the phases and tasks and also using UTBMS codes when recording their time.

More on the timescale for mandatory use of the nBOC:  Our last information is that the usage of the nBOC was to become mandatory at the beginning of October 2017 and it will need to be used for all work done after that date.  However, it is also understood that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have advised it to become mandatory beginning 06 April 2018 (to allow for the mandatory use of the nBOC in county courts as well as high court).  Given this, we advise firms to check for themselves on the go-live ‘mandatory use of the nBOC’ date.

Irrespective of the actual go-live date of the nBOC, it is going to happen soon.  It would be prudent for law firms to consider implementing the J-Codes or an alternative but equal system as soon as possible, so that time is recorded using appropriate task and activity codes, which will in turn enable the easier production of the nBOC at the close of the case when it will be required (assuming of course, the case is won).  This will then wield the advantages of the nBOC in terms of time and cost savings in its production.

Law firms are encouraged to find out more about the new model form bill of costs for themselves.  Please visit the judiciaries website for official information before making any decisions.