Entries by Toby Moreton

Proportionality: a view from the High Court

It’s been six years since the introduction of the “new” proportionality rule in CPR 44.3(5). In that time there have been a handful of decisions at circuit judge level but none from the higher courts, until now. On appeal from Master Whalan in the Senior Courts Costs Office, The Hon. Mr Justice Marcus Smith was tasked with determining a number of issues arising from the detailed assessment of costs including the correct approach to proportionality. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the decision does not offer much in the way of general guidance.

The relevance of costs estimates where no reliance is shown

Another important reminder of the importance of giving your client the best costs information possible throughout the life of your retainer. In this case the senior costs judge Master Gordon-Saker determined at first instance that notwithstanding the fact that the former client had not placed any reliance on any of the estimates provided to it by the solicitors, and acknowledging that unforeseen work had been undertaken, he was entitled to use the estimate as a yardstick in determining the reasonable costs payable as between solicitor and client. On appeal, Ms Clare Ambrose (Sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court) declined to interfere with this decision.

A short judgment looking at trust and estate costs principles

Following proceedings for an account by the claimants as executors of what they had done with the deceased’s estate HJJ Matthews ordered that defendant do pay 80% of the claimant’s costs. He was then asked to decide whether the claimants should be entitled to an indemnity for the remaining 20% balance from the estate. Concluding that whilst they had lost on some issues the claimants had not behaved improperly or unreasonably and in accordance with section 31 of the Trustee Act 2000 (applied to executors by section 35) and CPR Part 46 Practice Direction, paragraph 1 they were entitled to such an indemnity.