Dr Friston is a heavyweight in all aspects of costs law and litigation funding. Described in the current edition of Chambers and Partners as having a“frightening intellect” and in the current edition of the Legal 500 as having an “unrivalled knowledge of all aspects of costs and costslitigation”, he tends to focus on appellate matters and high value matters. He has both a non-contentious and a contentious practice:
Non-contentious: Dr Friston is well known for giving business advice to firms of solicitors and insurers. He is heavily in demand for his drafting skills, and is particularly well known for his contracts for funding, bespoke conditional fee agreements, costs sharing agreements, deeds of rectification, etc. He keeps a close eye on the movers and shakers in the field of legal costs, and is able to give up-to-the-minute advice about how best to deal with potential changes in policy.
Contentious: In so far as contentious work is concerned, Dr Friston’s forte is group litigation and representative claims, costs of commercial disputes, solicitor and client work, and points of law. He has expertise in managing ‘broken retainers’ and disputes concerning VAT. He is developing an interest in litigation other than in the civil courts, such as litigation before a variety of tribunals and arbitral litigation.
Dr Friston is author Civil Costs: Law and Practice, which is a comprehensive and erudite costs textbook. It has been described in this jurisdiction as “the Bible of the legal costs world” and “an exhaustive technical encyclopaedia of costs”, and has been described internationally as “a remarkable book”. One leading commentator has said that “those on the front line of costs disputes should have this work surgically attached to them”. Dr Friston is chairman of the Bar Council Conditional Fee Agreement Committee, and was the first practising barrister to become a Fellow of the Association of Law Costs Draftsmen (which is now known as the Association of Costs Lawyers). He is the only practising barrister ever to have sat as a council member of that organisation.