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Cook on Costs

de Michael Cook

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Cook on Costs is well established as a practical, friendly guide providing clear and straightforward explanations of every aspect (except criminal costs) of the remuneration of solicitors and barristers for every level of reader. Cook on Costs 2007 aims to explain as well as to inform, whilst being a practical guide through the complexities of all aspects of the costs of contentious and non-contentious legal business. No one who wishes to understand the principles and practice of legal costs should be without a copy.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porPhillipTaylor, lawbod

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COOKING THE BOOKS

It’s a bit expensive, especially for legal aid practitioners and pro bono advisers but, like a good meal, well worth the investment! Michael Cook continues to enjoy excellent reviews for an excellent book which is the foremost publication on civil costs currently available. I have reviewed previous editions of this work but, with the arrival of each annual edition, I continue to marvel at the additional content which, as Cook says, has doubled in size since the first edition appeared in 1991. It is now about 700 pages long with 42 detailed chapters split into six parts.

As always, “Cook on Costs” explains, as well as details, every aspect of the remuneration of solicitors and barristers. It remains the foremost practical guide over the complexities of all aspects of the costs of contentious and non-contentious legal business. No practitioner who needs to understand the principles and practice of legal costs should be without a copy of the current work each year.

Whilst Michael Cook is a most entertaining speaker at seminars, he has transferred his infectious enthusiasm to this book. The outcome is an authoritative and highly readable work which makes a change from some nameless publications which make the issue of cost a dire subject at the best of times.

The publication remains both thorough and comprehensive, answering all the main questions which frequently occur. It covers the entitlement to and the quantification of contentious and non-contentious litigation. Also, it covers the relationship between solicitor and client with a new section on the abolition of Conditional Fee Agreement Regulations in August 2005.

It is very up to date with the latest decided cases, many of which have not been reported and can only be obtained from the courts websites. There are verbatim extracts from leading test cases together with all the relevant statutes, rules and regulations governing civil costs.

For those practitioners who are new to ‘Cook on Costs’, do have a trip around the various parts which cover the following six headings: solicitor and client; between the parties; quantification; sanctions and penalties; particular people; and funding.

Probably the biggest factors which have always persuaded me to go for ‘Cook on Costs’ are the special methods of expression which Michael Cook uses, with good natured and, sometimes ironic, humour, to describe what is such a dull subject to many, especially law students if you have to teach it to them. There always seems to be an almost inaudible groan in court when my learned friend gets up to address the judge on costs. Cook always makes the subject much more exciting. The other two great plus factors for me are the excellent coverage of the Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Directions with attendant case law, and his final part on ‘funding’ which covers the Community Legal Service and Conditional Fees and is so well explained.

At the end of this review, I looked at the original preface to the first edition, and read a phrase of what Cook’s late partner, Lionel Cranfield, used to say at the end of some heavy litigation: “Now we come to the interesting part – the costs!”… which is actually what the client is normally desperate about? This book is about the interesting part and written in an interesting way which I find pleasantly manageable.

In the first edition in 1991, Cook wrote that ‘money is the life-blood of a solicitor’s practice’ and he continues by saying that he remains ‘perplexed that, in spite of this realisation, most solicitors and their clients lose out financially because of the profession’s basic lack of understanding and interest in all aspects of costs’.

It is sad to report that not much has changed (except CPR which is a ‘God-send’) fifteen years on. Let us hope that the government’s reforming zeal over legal services with the Legal Services Bill currently before Parliament addresses Michael Cook’s original concerns with more vigour than the New Labour approach so far on sentencing or extradition treaties. ( )
  PhillipTaylor | Dec 27, 2008 |
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Cook on Costs is well established as a practical, friendly guide providing clear and straightforward explanations of every aspect (except criminal costs) of the remuneration of solicitors and barristers for every level of reader. Cook on Costs 2007 aims to explain as well as to inform, whilst being a practical guide through the complexities of all aspects of the costs of contentious and non-contentious legal business. No one who wishes to understand the principles and practice of legal costs should be without a copy.

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