The relevance of costs estimates where no reliance is shown

HOWARD KENNEDY LLP v SPARTAFIELD LIMITED [2019] EWHC 1218 (Ch)

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 judge, especially a costs judge who will understand the estimates and have strong experience of them, may usefully take those estimates into account in assessing the reasonableness of costs that have arisen outside the estimate but are new and unexpected.”

HOWARD KENNEDY LLP v SPARTAFIELD LIMITED [2019] EWHC 1218 (Ch)