Counsel’s fees recoverable in addition to fixed costs in claims which have exited the portal

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On this appeal from Costs Officer Martin in the Senior Courts Costs Office, the Defendant contended that the Claimant had no entitlement to payment of Counsel’s fee for an advice.

It was contended that no such fee was payable under the relevant provisions in a claim which exited the EL/PL protocol if incurred after the claim had left the protocol; the costs were, it was argued, deemed to be included within the fixed fee.

Alternatively, it was said that if Counsel’s advice fee were recoverable in principle then the costs of such advice should be limited to £150 plus VAT in accordance with CPR 45. 23B (read with Table 6A).

Master Brown disagreed on both counts.

Having examined the core provisions of the fixed costs regime and the legislative history concerning Counsel’s/Specialist Solicitor’s advice fee, he determined that the fee was both recoverable and limited only to the extent that it must be both reasonable and proportionate in amount.

DOVER v FINSBURY FOOD GROUP PLC [2019] EWHC B11 (COSTS)