Former rivalry turns into collaboration as UK litigation firm acquires cost recovery outfit

The two entities had often clashed in court over the past decade

Former rivalry turns into collaboration as UK litigation firm acquires cost recovery outfit

UK litigation firm Richard Slade and Company has acquired costs recovery outfit checkmylegalfees.com, reported the Law Society Gazette.

checkmylegalfees.com pursued law firms for compensation, and London-based Richard Slade and Company was one of its repeat targets. The acquisition, which will see the former rivalry become a collaboration, comes after years of legal battles between the two entities.

The timing of the collaboration is ideal, coinciding with the upcoming introduction of fixed recoverable costs to a broader range of legal matters later this year.

"We have been fighting each other in court for the last 10 years, but it's extraordinary and a testament to professionalism that we have been able to make this happen," Richard Slade, founder and managing director of Richard Slade and Company, said in a statement published by the Gazette.

Mark Carlisle, who founded checkmylegalfees.com, will now join Richard Slade and Company. Slade praised Carlisle for his significant contributions to the law of costs and expressed excitement about working together in court – this time on the same side.

Richard Slade and Company will continue operating under its own name from its Gray’s Inn offices but will utilize 'checkmylegalfees.com' as an additional trading style.

checkmylegalfees.com gained attention by capitalising on the changes in law firms' business models following the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which reduced recoverable costs for personal injury cases. The outfit targeted law firms that deducted costs from clients' damages, resulting in ongoing legal disputes over the validity of these deductions.

However, checkmylegalfees.com faced setbacks after a defeat in the UK Court of Appeal last year, where judges ruled in favour of deductions made by a Norfolk firm, deeming them lawful and not requiring reimbursement.

Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos, expressed dissatisfaction with the business model employed by checkmylegalfees.com and called for a careful review and significant reform of the court process for assessing solicitors' bills.

He suggested that the legal ombudsman scheme would be a more cost-effective method for addressing queries regarding solicitors' bills.

According to the most recent annual accounts, checkmylegalfees.com had net liabilities of nearly £4,000 for the year ending 30 June 2022.

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