Lionel Persey QC sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court granted the Defendants relief from sanctions following the late filing of their costs budget by 13 days. It was accepted that the breach had been inadvertent and understandable given that the Defendants had been relying on an agreed table of procedural steps to be completed before the CCMC, which made no mention of costs budgeting. It was found that the Defendants had “dropped the ball” but that their default was not egregious in the particular circumstances of the case.
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A challenge we are seeing increasingly often goes along the lines of:
“if the receiving party could have, but did not, obtain a fee remission then the fee in question was unreasonably incurred and is not payable by the paying party.”
There have been some competing first instance decisions, leaving the issue ripe for argument in each case.
The Court of Appeal determined the following costs issues following a successful second appeal:
(1) Do the rules governing fixed costs in CPR r.45.17 to 19 apply to the costs of the appeal?
(2) If not, does CPR r.52.19 apply?
(3) If CPR r.52.19 does apply, what order for costs should we make?
(4) Does the Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting regime in CPR Part 44 apply to the costs of the appeal so as to limit the extent to which any order may be enforced against the respondent?
Following a successful private prosecution of his former co-director, resulting in three years of imprisonment, the claimant was awarded payment of his prosecution costs out of central funds. The designated officer allowed him the sum of £150,000 plus VAT as against a total sum of £427.909.66.
The designated officer’s determination was based largely on the disallowance of central London rates on grounds that adequate representation could have been found more locally and the application of a Singh reduction based on a comparator with the notional cost of the case being brought by the CPS.
This case highlightds the importance of familiarising yourself fully with the retainer documentation under which you are acting.
In the course of a detailed assessment in the SCCO Deputy Master Friston (costs judge) found that the conditional fee agreements (there were three, of which one “The Third Agreement” was relevant to the instant proceedings) were so confusing as to be almost incomprehensible.
The SCCO Guideline Hourly Rates were last updated in 2010. In 2014 they were reviewed by the then Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson MR, but left unchanged due to a lack of reliable evidence.
But how relevant are the guidelines five years on?
The SCCO Guide To Hourly Rates was last updated in 2010. In 2014 it was reviewed by the then Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson MR, but left unchanged due to a lack of reliable evidence.
But how relevant is the guide five years on?
Can a Part 36 Offer which excludes interest be validly made either generally or in the context of detailed assessment proceedings?
It is been an issue on which a number of judges have held diverging views.
In the present case, His Honour Judge Dight CBE, upholding Deputy Master Campbell’s first instance decision, had concluded that an offer exclusive of interest cannot be a valid Part 36 offer.
In contrast, in a matter we reported in May, Horne v Prescot (No 1) Ltd  EWHC 1322 (QB), Nicol J, dismissing an appeal from Master Nagalingam, held that, at least in the context of detailed assessment proceedings, an offer excluding interest can be an effective Part 36 offer.
So, what is the answer?
Dismissing this appeal against a decision of Master Leonard in the SCCO Mr Justice Stewart held that pursuant to CPR 47.24, the scope of an appeal against decisions made in the course of a provisional assessment is limited to a re-hearing only of any specific decisions which had been challenged at an oral hearing. In other words, if it hasn’t first been challenged at an oral hearing pursuant to CPR 47.15(7), it cannot be appealed.
An employers liability claim which settled outside the EL/PL Protocol for £15,000 was not restricted to the fixed costs that would have been allowed had the EL/PL Protocol been applied.