UPDATE ON THE COSTS OF THE JERSEY INQUIRY

 

The Jersey Evening Post published a front page article on  3 July 2017, in regard to the lack of costs controls on the Inquiry.

The Times picked up the story a day or so later stating:

Jersey investigation ‘allowed legal costs to spiral’

https://www.thetimesbrief.co.uk/users/39175-the-brief-team/posts/18270-abuse-inquiry-cleared-of-failing-to-investigate-own-sex-assault-claim

Legal costs for the inquiry into allegations that children were abused in care in Jersey were allowed to spiral out of control, an expert complained as the investigation published its findings yesterday.

Jim Diamond, a prominent costs lawyer, criticised the inquiry for allowing legal costs to balloon to £23 million, four times the initial projected figure. “I think some serious questions need to be asked,” Diamond told the Jersey Evening Post.

The newspaper reported that Eversheds Sutherland, the transatlantic law firm, was “one of the main recipients” of the legal costs because it provided solicitor services to the inquiry.

Further background on the issues:

I was asked by the former President of the Jersey Law Society, in late 2012, to draft a report for consideration to bring Jersey in line with the Jackson LJ reforms (subsequently introduced in April 2013). One of the main changes was costs management of civil cases. The former President then asked me to be one of the main speakers at Jersey’s Law Society’s first ever costs conference in Feb 2013. So the powers that be were well aware of my work on budgets and costs controls in early 2013.  Senator P.M. Bailhache, accepted an invite to the costs seminar, but unfortunately he did not attend.  He  did request and receive the conference notes.

Senator P.M. Bailhache, views on the costs of the inquiry as discussed in the states chambers 24th March 2015, are below:

The Chief Minister recently reminded me that, in discussion before project 118 was lodged in 2012 when we had been advised that the costs of the inquiry would be no more than £6 million, I predicted that there would be no change from £20 million, and that has proved to be correct. Now that we are all better informed about the scale of the task laid down in the terms of reference, my view has changed and I should be surprised if the final costs was much less than £50 million”.

 

STATES OF JERSEY REPORT ON CHAMBERS DEBATE TUESDAY, 24th MARCH 2015

Background—

Discussing the  legal costs in the Historic Children’s Inquiry in The  States of Jersey Assembly (i.e. Parliamentary Question Time). The initial budget was £7m and the costs are now expected to exceed £20M

Below are 3 quotes from states members:

Page 72-  Deputy J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I am reminded of a discussion or a meeting, I think between the Chief Minister, possibly the Minister for Treasury and Resources, and myself and I think there was a representative – I will think of the name – I think it was Jim Diamond Consulting Limited many years ago. I do not know if the name is quite right, but that particular individual had a reputation and a career in analysing and digesting legal costs and the legal profession did not like him very much because he had some success. All I would suggest, perhaps to the Chief Minister, is perhaps

page-82   Deputy P.D. McLinton of St. Saviour:

I am going to mention this and I am very pleased that Deputy Le Fondré mentioned already, Jim Diamond, a costs lawyer, who has been described as a pioneer of legal budgeting, who I would suggest may be employed by the Island to go over our legal bill with a fine toothcomb. He may be able to claw-back some of the money for our Island while still enabling the inquiry to do its valuable work. It is our perfect right to get the best value for money and, I believe, on his track record, he may be the very man for the job. I only mention him in this debate because his name keeps coming up off the record and, though it is already on the record, I want to make sure it is really on the record.

Page 86-Senator A.J.H. Maclean:

How I could do that as chairman of my Scrutiny Panel? I am going to be in a lot of trouble. Who quite rightly pointed out … what has not sprung out of my mind is Mr. Diamond who, of course, is a cost control lawyer that Members will have heard mention before and I think some of the work he has carried out in the past, or indeed there are other similar individuals in firms, are those that we need to focus attention on in order to ensure that services that are being procured are done so in an efficient and an effective manner. I think at the very heart of the problems that we see before us in 87 terms of controlling costs have been the fact that quite rightly this has been an independent inquiry set up; independence is obviously critically important.

http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/AssemblyHansard/2015/2015.03.24%20States%20-%20Edited%20Transcript.pdf

 

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