The Association of Law Costs Draftsmen (ALCD) has created a regulatory subsidiary and unveiled plans to streamline its membership as it shapes up as the smallest of the approved regulators.
Writing in the latest issue of Costs Lawyer magazine, ALCD chairman Iain Stark announced that the Costs Lawyers Standard Board has been created as a company registered in England incorporated with limited liability. Its shareholding is entirely owned by the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen Limited.
The board’s mission is to regulate costs lawyers practising in England and Wales and overseas with the object of ensuring that high standards of service and ethics are maintained by the professionals undertaking the delivery of costs services.
The move follows the ALCD’s annual general meeting in March, where members overwhelmingly supported continuing on the path of being an approved regulator. Mr Stark said: “The Council welcomes the resounding mandate given by the membership for its continuing work. With the regulation of costs lawyers and the immediate goal of attaining compliance with the Legal Services Act, change is inevitable in order to ensure not only regulation but also high professional standards.”
The ALCD has around 800 members, currently comprising of several categories: Costs Lawyer (the members who are regulated individuals for the purposes of the Legal Services Act), Fellow, Associate, Affiliate, Diploma, Certificated and Student. Mr Stark said: “If one compares the current membership structure of the ALCD with other frontline approved regulators such as the Law Society (trainee solicitor and solicitor), the Bar (pupil and barrister), it is clear that the entire membership must be regulated and conform to recognised practice.
“To this end, reform will occur as follows: with immediate effect, all existing Associates will automatically be upgraded to the status of Fellow. The Fellow status will cease to exist as of 1 January 2012. In the intervening period, existing Fellows are required to attend the costs lawyer course. As of 1 January 2012 there will be two tiers of membership, namely trainee costs lawyer and costs lawyer.”
He concluded: “The re-structuring of the membership is vital if the ALCD is to move forward as an approved regulator.”