Costs that are disallowed for want of retainer should not factor in the calculation of the one fifth rule.
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HHJ Simon Brown QC, the pioneer of costs budgeting, has given instant reward for keeping within a court approved budget, with a summary assessment of costs in the sum of £351,000 payable within 14 days.
The High Court rejected a bid by a successful defendant to nearly double its approved costs budget of almost £270k after trial.
It was appropriate to follow the principle in Lockley v National Blood Transfusion Service (1992) 1 WLR 492 and set off a costs order made against a publicly-funded claimant against costs and damages recoverable elsewhere in the action. That was so even though the financial burden on the Legal Services Commission would be less if a Lockley order was not made; the Commission had decided to fund the action and the successful defendant was entitled to enforce the costs order in its favour.
Under the terms of a Tomlin order which provided that one of three Defendants was only to pay the Claimant’s costs which related exclusively to the action against it, and not those incurred by the Dlaimant in respect of the dispute with the other two Defendants, that Defendant was liable for any common costs which could be attributed to it by division, rather than apportionment.
A Master had been correct to dismiss an application for an assessment of costs brought under Paragraphs 10(2) and 10(3)(c) of the Community Legal Service (Costs Protection) Regulations 2000 as it was out of time.
The master had been entitled to take into account the claimant’s age and the urgency of his case when deciding that it had been reasonable for him to instruct solicitors in central London in respect of his personal injury claim against the Ministry of Defence.
A master had erred in assessing costs awarded on a preliminary issue at nil on the ground that the receiving party had ultimately failed very badly in its case. The costs order had been intended to deal with the costs of the preliminary issue as a discrete set of costs, irrespective of the overall fate of the action.
Where family had funded a claimant’s litigation, there was a reasonable prospect of success in obtaining a third party costs order where the family were directly concerned with the facts of the claim, had taken an active role and gained a benefit from the litigation, and had sought to control its course.
During any time when a litigant acted in person they were not a legally assisted party within the meaning of the Legal Aid Act 1988 s.17. That extended to any period after their solicitors had ceased to act for them and had communicated that to the opponent’s solicitors, even if a period of time then elapsed before they took any active steps as a litigant in person.