Master of the Rolls accepts recommended changes to guideline hourly rates

CivilMaster of the RollsSir Geoffrey VosCivil Justice CouncilPractice Guidance

The Master of the Rolls has accepted the changes recommended by the Civil Justice Council’s (CJC) working group on Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR), and has asked that the recommendations are implemented, with a view to the new guide being used from 1 October 2021.

This follows the publication of the CJC final report on GHR on Friday 30 July 2021.

The Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos, said:

“I am grateful to the CJC, Mr Justice Stewart, and his entire working group for this report.

The published guideline rates have been static for too long and this needed to be addressed. I am satisfied with the evidence and arguments set out by the working group. I plan to implement all the recommended changes from Friday 1 October 2021 and to that effect I have asked my Officials and Master Gordon-Saker, Senior Costs Judge, to take forward the publication of the revised guide to summary assessment.

I am grateful to those who have taken the time to write to me about this work, particularly those who have raised concerns during the consultation process in respect of likely changes to working practices following the pandemic. Whilst I think there is likely to be merit in their concerns, I do not think that this should delay the necessary update of what is ultimately an advisory guide. I have, however, agreed with the Civil Justice Council that there will be a further review of guideline hourly rates reporting within 2 years.”

Between September and November 2020, the CJC working group collected data from the judiciary and the legal profession. The data was analysed by Professor Paul Fenn and Professor Neil Rickman and the suggested new rates and other minor changes were consulted on between January and March 2021.

The revised Guide, which is in draft form at Annex J of the CJC report, will be published shortly with a view to it being used from the 1st of October 2021.

The final version of the Guide contains a minor amendment from what was set out in the draft to reflect that existing National 1 counties and other identified National 1 centres will remain in Band 1 – Watford was erroneously omitted from the CJC’s draft. In addition, please note earlier versions of the Guide incorrectly listed Bedfordshire in the National 1 area. In fact it historically has been in National 2 and was intended by the working group to remain in National 2.