Litigant in Person Costs: Recovery and Negotiations

 

What is a Litigant in Person?

A Litigant in Person (LIP) is a party or individual who choose to represent themselves in legal proceedings without the use of a qualified professional, such as a solicitor or barrister. More people are choosing the route of litigation in person, perhaps partly due to cuts in legal aid.

Just like a legal representative would, a LIP is entitled to claim back costs that they have incurred as a result of carrying out the necessary work for their case, attending court proceedings and to cover any additional expenses related to the case.

Everyone has the right to be a Litigant in Person, and though some feel they may not have much choice due to legal aid restrictions, there are also benefits of representing oneself, particularly the fact that no one will know or understand your own case as much as you, and you may therefore feel you are the most appropriate and knowledgeable person to put your case across the most effectively.

Section 46.5 of the Civil Procedure Rules explains a Litigant in Person can include “a company or other corporation which is acting without a legal representative; and any of the following who acts in person (except where any such person is represented by a firm in which that person is a partner) (i) a barrister; (ii) a solicitor; (iii) a solicitor’s employee; (iv) a manager of a body recognised under section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985; or (v) a person who, for the purposes of the 2007 Act, is an authorised person in relation to an activity which constitutes the conduct of litigation (within the meaning of that Act).”

At Greener Costs, we can assist LIPs in the recovery of the costs related to their case. Our expertise in costs recovery means we can take some of the pressure of our clients for them to focus on other aspects of their legal proceedings.

Costs involved and what can be recovered

Most often, LIPs fall into two categories when it comes to claiming back legal costs, the first and most common is receiving a fixed hourly rate of £19 per hour as set out in the CPR 46.5. This is a set amount to cover a person’s time during the legal proceedings. However, if an LIP can prove financial loss of more than £19 an hour, they should be able to make a case to claim more costs recovery for the time reasonably spent doing work for the case.

Proof of such financial loss could include bank statements or other financial statements that prove their reduced income as a result of litigation proceedings. A prime example of a Litigant in Person making a claim for more than the standard £19 an hour is in the case of Spencer and Anor v Paul Jones Financial Services Ltd, where the amount of costs claimed were at a rate of £150 per hour.

It is worth noting that for those who wish to prove they have suffered more financial loss than set amount provided by the Civil Procedure Rules are prevented from recovering more than two-thirds of the amount of which a solicitor would have been entitled to had they have instructed such legal professionals.

When an LIP obtains a costs order they may also be able to claim back costs on any disbursements which will have otherwise been claimed back by an instructed legal professional. This could include expert assistance they have utilised on their case and overall costs claimed for legal services relating to the proceedings. Disbursements can also include fees of instructed experts and counsel, such as interpreters, estate agents and surveyors. Court fees and fees for the serving of documents can also be assessed.

Application for costs and expenses should be submitted to the courts within 24 hours of the costs hearing.

What is a McKenzie friend and can the costs be recovered?

A McKenzie friend is a person that attends court proceedings with a Litigant in Person to provide support and advice on the case. A McKenzie Friend does not need to be legally qualified, but they most often possess significant knowledge on the law and court proceedings to help a LIP navigate through the process.

McKenzie Friend fees are generally not recoverable, unless however, they are granted permission to conduct litigation or granted a right of audience by the courts. If this happens however, the McKenzie Friend would then henceforth be referred to as an ‘exempt person’ instead and, as such, their fees can generally be recovered from the opposing party.

How Greener Costs can Assist with Litigant in Person Costs

 

At Greener Costs, our team of Costs Lawyers and Costs Draftsmen have many years of experience surrounding costs drafting and negotiation. We are able to assist clients from all backgrounds on a range of cases and can help you recover costs from your case. We can help your case from the start of your dispute and can see it through all the way to representation at detailed assessment hearings, from county courts to high court cases.

With our extensive knowledge and highly skilled team, we are equipped to help you with any Litigation in Person costs, and we can provide law costing services to clients throughout England and Wales. We are also proud to be represented on Your Legal Advisor’s panel of costs experts. 

Greener Costs is the UK’s first net positive legal costs company, and our aim is to assist your law farm in costs services whilst also helping you become more carbon neutral. Our operations are fully paperless, and we commit to planting 25 trees per instruction. At the end of the year, we will send you a report detailing how much of your emissions have been offset by instructing our team.

If you wish to speak to a member of the team here at Greener Costs then please contact us at 01204 263047, info@greenercosts.co.uk or use the online form on our website below.

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