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.
“…there is no authority at the level of this Court in which the issue which now arises before us has been authoritatively considered… Accordingly, we must address the issue on first principles and, in particular, as a matter of interpretation. On that issue, we have reached the conclusion that the caps which are set out in CPR 45.43, in particular at (2) and (3), are inclusive of VAT.”
Master Leonard (costs judge) rejected an application to set aside a default costs certificate in the sum of £363,695.28.
The defendant’s costs draftsmen had failed to serve Points of Dispute within the agreed extended time period for doing so as a result of, on their evidence, pressures of work exacerbated by the country going into lockdown in March 2020.
Following service of a default costs certificate four months after the extended deadline had been missed the Defendant applied to set it aside.
The judge found that the Denton criteria applied. It was accepted that the default was both significant and serious. The remaining question to be decided was whether in all the circumstances it would be just, bearing in mind all the circumstances of the case, to set the DCC aside.
The judge found that it was not.
The Claimant’s solicitors appealed a decision of Master James (costs judge) to reduce their success fee in this high value clinical negligence claim from 80% to 50%.
Her Honour Judge Evans-Gordon considered the application of the Chorley principle in the context of this Court of Protection case where, for the material part, a solicitor (“SAP”) had been a party to the proceedings and had an interest in the outcome in that she was the nominated attorney under a disputed LPA. During this time she had acted as a Litigant in Person within the firm by whom she was employed. SAP unsuccessfully sought to recover her costs on the same basis as if she had instructed her solicitor firm to act for her.
This appeal from a summary assessment of costs was brought on grounds that the District Judge had failed to have sufficient regard to the components of the claimant’s N260 Statement of Costs and had effectively imposed her own unilateral tariff without any calculation or proper reasoning, contrary to the Court of Appeal’s guidance in 1800 Flowers Inc v Phonenames Limited  EWCA Civ 721.
This Court of Appeal decision concerned the circumstances in which the award to a Claimant who beats its own Part 36 Offer of some or all of the specified relief under CPR 36.17 may be considered to be unjust.
This Court of Appeal decision emphasised Clarke LJ’s rejection in Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas Keystone Inc.  EWHC 566 (Comm) of the proposition that “the test for the sum to award was the “irreducible minimum””, and Leggatt LJ’s decision in Dana Gas v Dana Gas Sudek  EWHC 332 (Comm) that “A logical approach is to start by estimating the amount of costs likely to be recovered on a detailed assessment and then to discount this figure by an appropriate margin to allow for error in the estimation.”
In this short judgment, Master James (costs judge) dealt with an application by the paying party for disallowance of the Claimant’s costs on grounds of unreasonable and improper conduct.
A solicitor who wishes to rely on having been given informed consent for the purposes of CPR 46.9(2) must not only point to a written agreement which meets the requirements of the rule, but must also show that his client gave informed consent to that agreement insofar as it permitted payment to the solicitor of an amount of costs greater than that which the client could have recovered from another party to the proceedings. For this purpose, the solicitor must show that he made sufficient disclosure to the client.