Entries by Toby Moreton

Late Amendment To Points Of Dispute Refused

“I do not accept … that there is a presumption under the rules that documents will be accepted, no matter how late nor how many new points they raise … It cannot be gainsaid that there will come a time when it is … “just too late”. It cannot be characterised as perverse or otherwise unlawful for the Master to have come to that conclusion in this case for the reasons he gave in his judgment.”

Bills of Costs | Who Are Your Fee Earners? | Court of Appeal Decision

“…a receiving party who elects to use the Precedent S spreadsheet format must include in his bill of costs information sufficient to enable the columns of worksheet 5 to be completed… It is, I think, to be inferred that a receiving party using Precedent S has to provide enough data for its worksheets to be filled in… The upshot is that, in my view, any electronic bill, whether in Precedent S spreadsheet format or any other spreadsheet format, must include the name, the SCCO grade and, in so far as it adds anything to the grade, the status of each fee earner except possibly in so far as the receiving party’s solicitors may have outsourced work to an agency.”

Costs Budgeting And The Effect Of CPR 46.9(3)(c)

To avoid the presumption applied by CPR 46.9(3)(c) the solicitor is required to explain to the client that the costs may not be recovered because they were unusual. “Unusual” must therefore be read in the context of a between the parties assessment. That is not to be equated with costs which are merely “unreasonable”. A solicitor is not required to inform the client that particular costs may not be recovered because a court may conclude that they were not reasonably incurred or reasonable in amount.

Defective Service Of Proceedings

“The rules governing service are clear that it is the registered office or principal place of business – which appear to be one and the same in this case – which needs to be used as the postal address for service upon a limited company. I have no doubt that errors such as have occurred here are often dealt with on a practical basis by amendment in the manner attempted by the claimant’s solicitors. But there is nothing within the rules to require one party to assist the other and a practical solution does not alter the legal position. It is one which the defendant is entitled to uphold, should it wish to do so.”

Indemnity Costs | Be Reasonable

I accept that in relation to a summary assessment on an indemnity basis, it may be appropriate to adopt rates that are marginally in excess of the guideline rates but what is reasonable depends ultimately not on the value of the litigation as a whole but on the nature of the application in respect of which costs are sought. This was a relatively straight forward application for an extension of time to serve witness statements. Whilst I am prepared to adopt the London 1 rates, essentially on the basis of an acceptance by the defendant that that is appropriate in the circumstances, given the nature of the application it is entirely inappropriate that I should attempt to exercise whatever jurisdiction I have to assess costs by reference to a rate that is higher than the guideline rate. Anything in excess of the guideline rate has to be justified, and Mr Sprange realistically has not attempted to do so. Therefore all sums for which payment is due under this assessment will be calculated at the London 1 guideline rates applicable for the appropriate fee earners.“

Brief Fees In Settled Cases

“…there is the point that Mr Weir had booked out time from his busy diary to accommodate the case, and as a matter of principle, Counsel is entitled to be paid for the loss of the chance to appear at the trial and for the fact that he turned away other remunerative work in order to take the case. That is correct so far as it goes, but the time scale between the date of delivery of the brief and the expected trial date was about three weeks, and as Mr Hughes has conceded, there must be an abatement.”

CPR 47.1 | Premature Commencement Of Assessment Proceedings

“the purpose of CPR 47.1 is to lay down a general rule that the costs of part of the proceedings are not to be assessed until the conclusion of the proceedings as a whole (unless the Court orders them to be assessed immediately). As I have observed that principle is not confined to interlocutory appeals but is, expressly, of general application… It must follow that under CPR 47.1, where a claimant succeeds on preliminary issues of liability and causation and the claim then moves on to the quantification of damages, the preliminary issue, for the purposes of CPR 47.1, also represents one part of the overall proceedings, just as it would have done (on the authority of Industrie) under the old Rules of the Supreme Court.”

2021 Guideline Hourly Rates, Use of Counsel And Division Of Common Costs

“The events of this case all took place during a short period in 2019. The guideline hourly rates (“GHR”) operative from 1 October 2021 are, in my view, likely to be the preferred starting point in most cases (rather than the 2010 version). Where the work is as recent as 2019, it seems to me there is really no argument that the correct starting point is the 2021 guideline figures.”

N260 Statement Of Costs | Form Matters

“There is a reason that the court requires a standard form for a schedule of costs in litigation.  It is because the parties, solicitors, counsel and judges develop a degree of familiarity with the format.  They know what costs go where and it becomes quite easy to look at the schedule, with the various headings, in the way that the defendant produced its schedule, and form a view as to whether the costs are reasonably incurred and proportionate in amount.”