Under what circumstances can an Interested Party to a procurement challenge recover its costs, specifically where that party has not participated at all in any of the substantive hearings?
The Claimant brought a judicial review to quash the grant of planning permission for the use of lodges, static caravans and touring caravans at Ruda Holiday Park, Croyde, Braunton Devon.
After procedural orders had been made early in the proceedings, the parties agreed a consent order on 19 November 2020 in the following terms:
“Any liability of the Defendant and Interested Party to pay costs in this action to the Claimant is capped at £35,000 + VAT (£42,000).” The reasons for this were set out in the recitals namely “AND UPON the Claimant applying, in its claim form and within its statement of facts and grounds, for an Aarhus Protective Costs Order within the meaning of 45.43 of the Civil Procedure Rules AND UPON the parties not contesting that this is an Aarhus claim”.
In the course of this personal injury claim the Claimant had made two Part 36 Offers, to essentially the same effect, namely that he would accept 90% of his claim for damages and interest to be assessed, on the basis that liability was admitted. The Claimant had alleged that he had sustained two distinct injuries as a result of the Defendant’s negligence in the form of whiplash and injury to his lower back. He had claimed damages of approximately £10,000.
When it comes to detailed assessment of solicitors’ fees the level of detail required is dictated largely by the Practice Direction accompanying CPR 47, specifically paras 5.12 to 5.22. But what about the fees of any experts who have assisted with the case?
Following the (original) Respondent’s failure to pay an interim payment as ordered by the FTT, the (original) Applicant applied for an order debarring the Respondent from relying upon its Points of Dispute and for judgment in the full amount of their costs.
Following judgment for the Defendant in this case, the court awarded costs on the standard basis along with pre judgment interest at 2% pursuant to CPR 44.2(6)(g). The Judge went on to consider an appropriate payment on account. In line with developing case law, in particular the decisions in MacInnes v Gross  4 WLR 49 and Thomas Pink Ltd. v Victoria’s Secret UK Ltd.  EWHC 3258 (Ch) he awarded 90% of the budgeted costs as against 50% offered by the Claimant.
Suing for unpaid fees? In this case The Hon. Mr Justice Butcher considered the rights of the client upon being sued for payment of unpaid fees to challenge the amount of those fees sought by way of non statutory assessment.
In this case, a dispute arose as to the terms of the retainer as between the solicitor and client . It was broadly agreed that at the parties’ initial meeting in December 2017 it had been agreed that Mr Slade would act on Mr Murray’s behalf to the conclusion of his case for a fixed fee of £50,000 plus VAT including all disbursements. Following a PTR in or around May 2018 Mr Murray expressed dissatisfaction with his barrister and told Mr Slade “you had better get this sorted out”. In response, Mr Slade retained another barrister, Mr Moraes, for a fee of £25,000 + Vat. This was as against the previous barrister’s fee of £10,000 + Vat. The parties differed in their evidence as to what happened next.
CPR 36.17(4) applies where a Claimant beats its own Part 36 Offer in substantive proceedings bringing with it various rewards including a 10% uplift, enhanced interest and indemnity costs. The question to be addressed in this case was whether it applies equally to the costs of detailed assessment i.e. can you make a valid Part 36 Offer in respect of the costs of the detailed assessment proceedings and reap those same rewards if it is beaten? In other words, do the the costs of the detailed assessment proceedings, for the purposes of CPR 36.17(4), fall within “any issue that arises in the claim”?
In this SCCO decision on a preliminary issue before the start of a Solicitors Act assessment Master Rowley found that whilst the interim statute bills rendered to the client by his solicitors throughout the life of the retainer were to all intents and purpose statute in form and content, the retainers (private and then CFA) did not allow them to be rendered.