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Under attack

Claiming City rates for personal injury work contributes to keeping the cost of litigation at an unjustifiably high level and should be capped by the courts, argue Mark Ashley and Carina Patterson; but Fraser Whitehead disagrees and suggests instead a move away from the concept of City rates

19 October 2010

Why City rates should not be recovered in personal injury claims

Much has been made recently of the proposed changes to our civil legal costs regime, particularly as regards the recovery from defendants of success fees and ATE premiums by claimants. These additional liabilities substantially increase a defendant’s liability in costs.

However, this is only one half of the story. Frequently, in injury claims the hourly rates claimed by claimants’ solicitors are excessively high – one reason for this is the basis on which those rates are claimed.

Solicitors based in Outer and Central London are often claiming what are termed City rates in the guideline rates for summary assessment of costs, while solicitors based outside London are often claiming rates commensurate with Central London or substantially (e.g. 70 per cent) more than the guideline rate applicable to their location.

Similarly, solicitors not based in or near to London m...

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