The Civil Justice Council (CJC)'s final report on Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR) was published on 30 July 2021. The Master of the Rolls subsequently accepted the CJC's recommendations and requested that they be implemented. It is expected that the revised Guide to the Summary Assessment of Costs will be in use as of 1 October 2021.

Before the introduction of the new rates, the GHR were last fixed in 2010, although there was a review in 2014 which resulted in no changes being made to the rates. The practical usefulness of the GHR has therefore declined as the gap between them and real retainer rates has steadily grown.

A fundamental idea underpinning the GHR regime has been that a firm’s geographical location should have a direct bearing on the applicable guideline hourly rate, and therefore an impact on potential cost recoverability. But is it still the case in 2021, in a post-Covid world, that the geographic location of a firm's offices is a main driver of overheads, and something that should have such a bearing on the applicable guideline rate?

Russell-Cooke senior associate Ricky Cella comments in Solicitors Journal that a further review of the GHR should consider new remote working practices and court reforms.

Are guideline hourly rates misguided? is available to read on the Solicitors Journal website via subscription.

Ricky is a senior associate in the commercial litigation team. He has particular experience in construction disputes (both commercial and residential), actions for infringement and unlawful use of intellectual property and commercial debt recovery. Ricky also advises clients on director and partnership disputes, general contractual issues and the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures, such as mediation.