Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators: - Practice Direction: Michaelmas Term 2021 - Return to Physical Sittings

Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators: - Practice Direction: Michaelmas Term 2021 - Return to Physical Sittings

27/09/2021

Practice Direction No. 4/2021

With effect from the 4th October 2021, and until further notice, the following is a summary of the manner in which Legal Costs Adjudication proceedings and applications will be heard in the High Court Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators at Merchants House, 27/30 Merchants Quay, Dublin 8.

The default position will be that all proceedings will be afforded a physical hearing.

Adjudications of legal costs and associated applications that can he heard, both as fairly and effectively as they would be heard in the course of a physical hearing, will be listed for a remote hearing. In all cases parties will be entitled to apply to have the case listed otherwise than in accordance with the default position indicated in this practice direction. The Adjudicators will be mindful of the position of the parties and will consider and determine such applications on a case by case basis.

A remote call over of cases which is held, during the law term, each Thursday at 9.30am, will continue to take place remotely. At the call over, cases listed for the following week (Monday to Friday) will be called over. Any applications concerning matters listed for the following week will be dealt with. Parties are reminded of their obligation to ensure that any other party to the Adjudication, is aware of any such applications to be made. Log in details will be made available to parties on request. 

Parties are obliged to inform the adjudicator on the call over as to the position in cases listed for the following week and the expected duration of the hearing, so as to permit proper planning. Cases will be given staggered times for hearings, so as to effectively control the number of people in attendance at the hearing rooms, in accordance with public health requirements.

The General Office will be closed to members of the public, save by prior appointment. Telephones will operate as normal during office hours, email, post and Dx facilities will likewise operate as normal. Email, correspondence and telephone inquiries will continue to be dealt with along normal lines. Drop Box facilities are available in Merchants House, to facilitate the physical submission of documents. This is currently located to the side of the main reception desk. The e-filing platform for the lodgement of Applications for Adjudication will continue to operate as normal through CSOL for registered users. 

To enable, the above, physical hearings of Adjudications on Legal Costs to proceed in a manner which complies with public health guidance and to protect the safety of all office user’s parties are expected to adhere to following: -

  1. All persons attending at the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators for the hearing of an adjudication must comply with current public health advice. In particular, all such persons should engage in frequent hand washing and comply with respiratory etiquette.
  2. Whilst on the office premises all persons shall remain physically distanced in accordance with current Department of Health advice, which at this time is 2 meters.
  3. Anyone with any symptoms of Covid-19 i.e. temperature, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or cough, or who feels in anyway unwell, should not attend at the office premises and should seek healthcare advice.
  4. Face coverings must be worn by all persons, save for those who, for medical or other welfare considerations, cannot wear a face covering.
  5. The wearing of face coverings does not excuse any person or persons from their obligation to abide by social distancing requirements as these can be met, albeit with some inconvenience.
  6. Each adjudication room has been assessed for capacity having regard to Covid-19 restrictions. The number of persons who can be accommodated in any adjudication room will appear on the door and that number may never be exceeded. Any additional persons concerned with the case must wait beyond the precincts of the office until required.
  7. Only when a case is scheduled for hearing should those concerned with that adjudication enter upon the office premises. At that point all such persons should proceed directly to the adjudication room when the case should be ready to start.
  8. Those attending any case must, on entering the office premises proceed directly to the adjudication room and remain there until the planned sitting comes to an end, save where a witness, having completed their evidence, wishes to leave, in which case they should leave the office directly.
  9. No negotiations or consultations may take place at or in the office. These must be held at a different venue, preferably in the weeks or days in advance of the hearing. Any negotiations as may take be required on the day of the hearing must take place beyond the precincts of the office.
  10. For “track and trace purposes”, all parties who attend the hearing shall prepare in advance of the hearing and leave with the adjudicator at the conclusion of the proceedings, a document containing the name and telephone number of each individual (legal costs accountant, counsel, solicitor, party, witness/other) who entered the office in connection with the case. The names of those who did not actually attend should be removed. The consent of those listed should be obtained for GDPR purposes. Such records to be destroyed 14 days after the conclusion of the proceedings.
  11. Once a hearing is completed, all persons concerned must leave the building promptly.
  12. The persons involved in the next case will not be allowed to enter the building until it is cleared of all persons involved in the previous case. We thank you for your cooperation

 Dated 27th day of September 2021

Paul M Behan
Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator
Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators
The High Court
Merchants House
27/30 Merchants Quay
Dublin 8
(01) 888 6301
info_legalcostsadjudicators@courts.ie

25/02/2021

Extension - 5 April 2021

Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators. Framework for Living with Covid- 19 - Level 5 Restrictions Extension - 5th April 2021

The extension of Level 5 of the Framework for living with Covid-19 and appropriate restrictions lasting until April 5th, 2021, will have an effect on the conduct of business within the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators.

The overarching principle of implementing these measures is to protect the health and safety of staff and users of the Office.

The General Office will be closed to members of the public, save by prior appointment and then only for the conduct of urgent business.

Telephones will operate as normal during office hours, email, post and Dx facilities will likewise operate as normal. Email, correspondence and telephone inquiries will continue to be dealt with along normal lines.
Drop Box facilities are available in Merchants House, to facilitate the physical submission of documents. This is currently located to the side of the main reception desk.

The e-filing platform for the lodgment of Applications for Adjudication will continue to operate as normal through CSOL for registered users.

A remote call over of cases, which is held each Thursday at 9.30am during the law term, will continue to take place. This will call over cases listed for the following week. Any applications concerning matters listed for the following week will be dealt with. Log in details will be made available to parties on request.

There will be instances where cases are suitable for a remote hearing, equally, there may be cases which are unsuitable for a remote hearing. This is a matter to be decided on a case by case basis. The Legal Costs Adjudicator having seisin of the matter, shall have sole discretion to determine the suitability of cases for remote hearing. The Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned, has the right to terminate such hearings in the event that it is concluded that the process cannot be undertaken fairly or may have the potential to impede due process or the application of the provisions of the Legal Services Regulation Act, 2015.

The Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned will issue the appropriate directions to the parties, which can only be decided on a case by case basis, having heard submissions from the parties.

Parties and their legal representatives are asked to closely monitor the Legal Diary and the Courts Service website for greater detail concerning all lists generally. It will be appreciated that this guidance is issued as matters stand at the present time and may be subject to change.

Paul M Behan
Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator
Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators
The High Court
Merchants House
27/30 Merchants Quay
Dublin 8

27/01/2021:

Extension - 5th March 2021

The extension of Level 5 of the Framework for living with Covid-19 and appropriate restrictions lasting until March 5th, 2021, will have an effect on the conduct of business within the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators.

The overarching principle of implementing these measures is to protect the health and safety of staff and users of the Office.

The General Office will be closed to members of the public, save by prior appointment and then only for the conduct of urgent business.

Telephones will operate as normal during office hours, email, post and Dx facilities will likewise operate as normal. Email, correspondence and telephone inquiries will continue to be dealt with along normal lines.

Drop Box facilities are available in Merchants House, to facilitate the physical submission of documents. This is currently located to the side of the main reception desk.
The e-filing platform for the lodgment of Applications for Adjudication will continue to operate as normal through CSOL for registered users.

A remote call over of cases, which is held each during the law term Thursday at 9.30am, will continue to take place. This will call over cases listed for the following week. Any applications concerning matters listed for the following week will be dealt with. Log in details will be made available to parties on request.

There will be instances where cases are suitable for a remote hearing. This is a matter to be decided on a case by case basis. The Legal Costs Adjudicator having seisin of the matter, shall have sole discretion to determine the suitability of cases for remote hearing. The Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned, has the right to terminate such hearings in the event that it is concluded that the process cannot be undertaken fairly or may have the potential to impede due process or the application of the provisions of the Legal Services Regulation Act, 2015.

The Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned will issue the appropriate directions to the parties, which can only be decided on a case by case basis, having heard submissions from the parties.
Parties and their legal representatives are asked to closely monitor the Legal Diary and the Courts Service website for greater detail concerning all lists generally. It will be appreciated that this guidance is issued as matters stand at the present time and may be subject to change.

Paul M Behan
Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator
Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators 
The High Court 
Merchants House 
27/30 Merchants Quay
Dublin 8 

05/01/2021:

The move to Level 5 of the Framework for living with Covid-19 and the appropriate restrictions which come into effect from midnight on 30th December 2020, for a projected period of 4 weeks, will have an effect on the conduct of business within the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators.

The overarching principle of implementing these measures is to protect the health and safety of staff and users of the Office.

The General Office will be closed to members of the public, save by prior appointment and then only for the conduct of urgent business.

Telephones will operate as normal during office hours, email, post and Dx facilities will likewise operate as normal. Email, correspondence and telephone inquiries will continue to be dealt with along normal lines.

Drop Box facilities are available in Merchants House, to facilitate the physical submission of documents. This is currently located to the side of the main reception desk.
The e-filing platform for the lodgment of Applications for Adjudication will continue to operate as normal through CSOL for registered users.

A remote call over of cases, which is held each during the law term Thursday at 9.30am, will continue to take place. This will call over cases listed for the following week. Any applications concerning matters listed for the following week will be dealt with. Log in details will be made available to parties on request.

There will be instances where cases are suitable for a remote hearing. This is a matter to be decided on a case by case basis. The Legal Costs Adjudicator having seisin of the matter, shall have sole discretion to determine the suitability of cases for remote hearing. The Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned, has the right to terminate such hearings in the event that it is concluded that the process cannot be undertaken fairly or may have the potential to impede due process or the application of the provisions of the Legal Services Regulation Act, 2015.

The Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned will issue the appropriate directions to the parties, which can only be decided on a case by case basis, having heard submissions from the parties.

Parties and their legal representatives are asked to closely monitor the Legal Diary and the Courts Service website for greater detail concerning all lists generally. It will be appreciated that this guidance is issued as matters stand at the present time and may be subject to change.

Paul M Behan
Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator
Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators
The High Court
Merchants House
27/30 Merchants Quay
Dublin 8

01/12/2020:

The move to Level 3 of the Framework for living with Covid-19 and the appropriate restrictions which come into effect from midnight the 1st December 2020, will have an effect on the conduct of business within the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators.

The overarching responsibility to protect staff and users of the Office alike, is paramount.
The Office will be closed to members of the public, save by prior appointment.

Telephones will operate as normal during office hours, email, post, Dx and Drop Box facilities will likewise operate as normal. Email, correspondence and telephone inquiries will continue to be dealt with along normal lines.

The e-filing platform for the lodgment of Applications for Adjudication will continue to operate as normal through CSOL for registered users.

The remote call over, which is held each Thursday at 9.30am, will continue to take place. This will call over cases listed for the following week. Any applications concerning matters listed for the following week will be dealt with. Dial in details will be made available to parties on request

In those cases, which are deemed unsuitable for a remote hearing, the parties will be offered a physical hearing date. Given the requirement to operate hearings in a safe manner for practitioners and the staff of the Office, the resumption of physical hearings will be on a limited basis only. The parties will be assigned hearing dates with staggered hearing times, by the Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned. Parties are requested to have given some reasonable thought to the likely length of time required and to be in a position to make submissions in this regard to the Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned. parties should also be mindful of the fact that no consultation room facilities are available and parties are not permitted to be within the Office, unless by arrangement.

In those cases, which may be suitable for a remote hearing, the parties will be offered a remote hearing, where, and only where, the parties are legally represented.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator having seisin of the matter, shall have sole discretion to determine the suitability of cases for remote hearing and the right to terminate such hearings in the event that the process cannot be undertaken fairly or may have the potential to impede due process or the application of the provisions of the Legal Services Regulation Act, 2015.

The Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned will issue the appropriate directions to the parties, which can only be decided on a case by case basis, having heard submissions from the parties.
Parties and their legal representatives are asked to closely monitor the Legal Diary and the Courts Service website for greater detail concerning all lists.

Paul M Behan
Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator
Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators
The High Court
Merchants House
27/30 Merchants Quay
Dublin 8

21/10/2020. 

The move to Level 5 of the Framework for living with Covid-19 and the appropriate restrictions which come into effect from midnight on Wednesday 21st October 2020 for a projected period of 6 weeks, will have an effect on the conduct of business within the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators.

The overarching responsibility to protect staff and users of the Office alike, is paramount.

The Office will be closed to members of the public, save by prior appointment and then only for the conduct of urgent business.

Telephones will operate as normal during office hours, email, post and Dx facilities will likewise operate as normal. Email, correspondence and telephone inquiries will continue to be dealt with along normal lines.

Drop Box facilities will be available in Merchants House, to facilitate submission of documents, to the side of the main reception desk.

The e-filing platform for the lodgment of Applications for Adjudication will continue to operate as normal through CSOL for registered users.

The remote call over, which is held each Thursday at 9.30am, will continue to take place. This will call over cases listed for the following week. Any applications concerning matters listed for the following week will be dealt with. Dial in details will be made available to parties on request

In those cases, which may be suitable for a remote hearing, the parties will be offered a remote hearing, where, and only where, the parties are legally represented.

The Legal Costs Adjudicator having seisin of the matter, shall have sole discretion to determine the suitability of cases for remote hearing and the right to terminate such hearings in the event that the process cannot be undertaken fairly or may have the potential to impede due process or the application of the provisions of the Legal Services Regulation Act, 2015.

The Legal Costs Adjudicator concerned will issue the appropriate directions to the parties, which can only be decided on a case by case basis, having heard submissions from the parties.

Parties and their legal representatives are asked to closely monitor the Legal Diary and the Courts Service website for greater detail concerning all lists.

Paul M Behan
Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator
Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators
The High Court
Merchants House
27/30 Merchants Quay
Dublin 8