By Sean Linley, Costs Draftsman 
The Master of the Rolls has accepted changes to the Guideline Hourly Rates, which were previously recommended by the Civil Justice Council Working Group (see here for more details).  
The changes are expected to come into place from 1 October 2021. A further review of the guideline hourly rates is scheduled to take place within 2 years. 
In addition an updated guide to the Summary Assessment of Costs has been published, it is an advisory guide and the Master of the Rolls stated he did not see why its publication should be delayed. It can be viewed here
What hourly rates have been approved? 
The table below sets out the rates which have been approved by the Master of the Rolls. 
What does this mean right now? 
The Working Group report made it clear that rates above and beyond the SCCO Guideline Hourly Rates as they currently are were routinely been allowed. Even if the rates do not formally come into effect until October they will doubtless prove persuasive right now.  
For clarity, though, these rate changes are unlikely to have retrospective effect though they will likely be in the judiciary's mind when assessing costs and the historic data already shows rates above the previous rates been routinely allowed. Practitioners will need to advise their clients of any rate increases, else they will be bound by the existing retainer rates. Moving forwards, practitioners may wish to review and update retainers to take account of the increase in hourly rates.  
This will be welcome news for solicitors though it must be remembered that the CJC made clear that even the increased rates are only a starting point and not prescriptive.  
If you're unsure what the increase in rates means or how to strategically make the most of these changes, email or call 01482 534567 for an informal chat. 
Tagged as: Hourly Rates
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