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Board of Governors approves rules to permit awarding costs in fee arbitrations cases

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The Florida Bar Gold SealThe Board of Governors has approved a series of amendments to Chapter 14 of Bar rules that would permit the awarding of attorney costs under the Fee Arbitration Program.

At a January 29 meeting, the board voted unanimously, on the recommendation of the Disciplinary Procedure Committee, to approve proposed amendments to: Rule 14-1.2 Jurisdiction; Rule 14-4.1 Arbitration Proceedings; rule 14-5.2 Effect of Agreement to Arbitrate and Failure to Comply; Fee Arbitration Procedural Rules; Rule I. Preamble; Fee Arbitration Procedural Rules; Rule IV Hearings; and Fee Arbitration Procedural Rules; Rule IX. Intervention.

Disputes over an attorney’s bill often involve the cost of litigation, including offices charges for photocopies or online research as well as out-of-pocket costs for experts, deposition transcripts, filing fees and services of process.

“The amendment clarifies that in every instance where the determination of a fee is being considered, the rule also permits the determination of a cost,” according to a staff analysis.

The change to Rule 14-1.2 must be filed with and approved by the Supreme Court and the amendments to the fee arbitration procedural rules will be held pending a court ruling.

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