Civil Justice Council consultation on guideline hourly rates – Law Society response

In March 2021, we responded to the Civil Justice Council’s (CJC) consultation on guideline hourly rates.

Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR) are used:

  • as a guide to the appropriate level of recoverable rates in civil litigation
  • to assist judges when making a summary assessment of costs

See the current GHR

The GHR have not been updated since 2010. In light of this, the Civil Justice Council established a working group to “conduct an evidence-based review of the basis and amount of the GHR and to make recommendations accordingly”.

The working group carried out a data collection and analysis exercise towards the end of 2020 and used this data to inform new recommended rates.

The proposals

The working group released a GHR report in January 2021, which included the proposed rates and questions for consultation.

The report suggested an increase to GHR of between 6.8% and 34.8% depending on location and experience of the fee-earner.

Other recommendations include re-banding geographical areas.

Find out more about the proposals

Our view

We are broadly supportive of the proposed GHR, however we believe that the new rates should be seen as an interim measure.

We call for a more comprehensive review of GHR to be carried out in three years, to reflect whether the established level of GHR are delivering value for money.

What this means for solicitors

A change to GHR will provide more clarity for solicitors and fee-earners involved in civil litigation.

Next steps

The consultation closed on 31 March 2021.

The Civil Justice Council published its final report on 30 July 2021.

The Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos, will now consider the report’s recommendations before deciding on how to proceed.

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