There is not an area of the law of costs that Nick Bacon does not or cannot deal with.
Nick Bacon is probably one of the best-known leading barristers in his specialised field of costs. He is described in the Legal 500 as having “probably the biggest costs practice at the Bar” and by Chambers and Partners as being “top of the tree in this field”. He has appeared in practically all of the most important costs funding cases in recent years. He is a recognised specialist in that area having been appointed as an Assessor in the High Court on appeals against costs assessments.
He advises on all aspects of inter parties and Solicitor Act assessments and represents both claimants and defendants, insurers and funders and solicitors either pursing costs or defending clients’ challenges to their fees. He has been instructed in some of the largest costs claims to come before the courts, including the BCCI v. Bank of England claim where the costs exceeded £70M. He is currently retained in the largest costs assessment in English legal history involving over £105M.
He is an advisor to a number of Unions and Incorporated Associations and Membership Organisations in respect of Collective Conditional Fee agreement structures and related legal expense insurance arrangements.
He has advised some of the leading Third Party funders in the market on terms of indemnities and “premium” recovery.
He is often retained by the leading ATE insurers to advise not just on premium recovery but on the form and content of LEI policies underlying the insurance. He is often instructed to advise on and draft associated panel solicitor documentation.
He was junior counsel in the House of Lords for the successful claimant in Callery v Gray (HL) (2002) 1 WLR 2000 which was and remains the leading case on the recovery of success fees and insurance premiums. He appeared as Counsel in the House of Lords in KAC v. Iraqi Airways Company on an Incidental Petition concerning the recovery of costs. He has been instructed in most of the significant conditional fee agreement/ after the event insurance premium cases in the Court of Appeal including the seminal case on the enforceability of conditional fee agreements, Hollins v Russell (CA) (2003) 1 WLR 2487 and subsequently Garrett v. Halton Borough Council; Myatt v. National Coal Board  1 WLR 554. He appeared for the Appellant in the Court of Appeal in the first discounted fee agreement test case of Gloucestershire County Council v. Evans  EWCA Civ 21 and in Butt v. Nizami  1 WLR 3307. He represented the successful Respondent before the Master of the Rolls in the recent fixed costs case of Kilby v. Gawith  WLR (D) 163.
He appeared for the successful Respondent in the lead Costs Capping case of Willis v. Nicholson  EWCA Civ 199
He was instructed at first instance and on appeal in the Court of Appeal in the Claims Direct Test Cases  Lloyd’s Law Reports 67 and subsequently in The Accident Group Test Cases  3 All ER 325. He was instructed for the Defendant in the RSA Pursuit Test Cases (27 May 2006) where he achieved the largest reduction to any of the premiums claimed.
He was a member of Lord Justice Jackson’s working group on the report into Civil Costs Review.
Mediation of Costs Disputes
Nicholas is ranked as the leading Silk in Costs: Legal 500 2013.
Chambers and Partners 2013 describe Nicholas as “top of the tree in this field” and “one of the go-to people” at the Costs Bar. Praised for his “huge knowledge of costs authorities“, “he can always arrest the attention of the judge.” ‘He acted in Motto v Trafigura case, one of the largest costs cases in English legal history.’ He acted for News Group Newspapers in the seminal Mitchell (Plebgate) case.
Prior to taking silk in 2010, Nicholas was described as “Undoubtedly the best-known junior in the field,”. This high acclaim has continued. In 2011 he was described in the Legal 500 as ‘a guru on costs matters’, 4 New Square ….houses two of the top practitioners in the field. New QC Nicholas Bacon QC receives praise from all quarters – ‘an exceptional practitioner’, ‘he responds quickly and thinks quickly’. Bacon is instructed on the £100m costs claim arising out of the Trafigura group litigation” .
‘The “enormously likeable” Nicholas Bacon QC continues to consolidate his practice after last year’s elevation to silk. “A deservedly popular choice of counsel,” he is “a vigorous defender of his clients’ interests.” Famed for his encyclopaedic knowledge of costs law, he has “an impressive analytical eye, which he uses to great effect when on his feet.” Clients particularly take a shine to his “bold and forceful advocacy style,” as it “reassures them that he is always fighting their corner hard.” (Chambers and Partners: 2008). “Hardworking, energetic and steeped in costs law, Nicholas Bacon has probably the biggest costs practice at the Bar and “solicitors like him enormously”. (Legal 500 – 2005) “An experienced and formidable opponent who lives and breaths costs appeared in many leading cases” (Legal 500-2004) “Knows the subject backwards’ and is the leading player, with a string of important recent cases to his name” (Legal 500: 2003).
High Court Assessor on Costs Appeals.
This equips Nicholas with experience in undertaking assessments of the kind required in a mediation process. As an Assessor he advises the Judge as to the applicable costs assessment principles to apply. He was requested in the Mealing McCloud case to advise the High Court Judge as to the likely level of recovery of costs sought by the appellant litigant.
Member of the Joint Tribunal (Bar Council/Law Society) on fee disputes. Nicholas has conducted Tribunal determinations which are dealt with usually by a written judgment without a hearing and based on written submissions. This involves assessing the likely recoverable fees of the barrister concerned.
The fact that Nicholas is not a trained mediator with accreditation does not prevent him from accepting instructions to act as a mediator and he is frequently asked to do so. He has considerable mediation experience in the field of costs as a party representative where he has successfully mediated some of the largest costs claims passing through the courts. Subject to conflict issues he will act as a mediator to settle any form of costs dispute whether as between solicitor and client or inter partes. This includes the whole or any part of the bill(s) in question. The process is very often seen as a more efficient and costs effective route to resolving costs disputes than the traditional detailed assessment process.
Nicholas’ background and status as leader in his field lends attraction to parties wishing to settle their disputes via a process of adjudication in which the parties agree to be bound by a written determination of the likely costs recovery in the particular case. The process can be adapted to suit the parties’ wishes to involve a short hearing if required but more often than not written submissions alone can form the basis for the adjudication process. This form of determination very often results in substantially less costs being incurred than if the matter had been progressed through the court assessment process and results in much speedier resolution of the dispute.
Nicholas also accepts instructions to act as an expert witness. Most recently he provided an expert report on the likely recovery of costs in a dispute being determined by the US District Court of New York in respect of legal costs incurred in England.
Member of the Civil Procedure Rules Committee
Bar Council Remuneration Committee Bar Council CFA Panel Member of PNBA
Third Party Funding
Nicholas is a leading, go to advisor, on all aspects of litigation funding.
He has represented many of the leading third party funders and ATE providers and brokers including Burford and its predecessor First Assist, Harbour, JLT, Arag, Temple, DAS, Keystone, Elite and many more ‘household names’.
He has been key adviser in the orchestration and packaging of funding packagers in multi-million pound funding deals and large group litigation cases.
He is regularly instructed to advise on regulatory compliance issues and the underlying contractual documentation to complete due diligence for both insurers and insured.
Quite apart from acting for the funders, he is regularly instructed on behalf of both receiving and paying parties to recover / oppose the recovery of pre LASPO premiums and additional liabilities. He has been involved in many of the key Court of Appeal and Supreme Court decisions relating to the recovery of costs arising out of funded litigation.
He was an advisor member to the Civil Justice Counsel committee on the implementation of DBA legislation following the Jackson reforms which, to his regret, resulted in Government intervention undermining the genuine need and desire to free up the market with contingency fee style agreements.
He is a long standing member of the Bar Council Remuneration Committee (Vice Chair Civil) where he continues to be actively involved in post Jackson law reform.
For his interview with the Judge: http://www.insolvencylitigationfunding.com/media-resources/videos/interview-nick-bacon