MEF v St George's Healthcare NHS Trust [2020] EWHC 1300 (QB)

Does A Calderbank Offer Expire At The Door Of The Court?

In the course of costs negotiations following settlement of liability in this clinical negligence claim the Defendant made a number of Calderbank offers, the last of which being for the sum of £440,000 on condition that if not accepted within a reasonable time, the Claimant would be responsible for the Defendant’s costs.

AINSWORTH V STEWARTS LAW LLP

Points Of Dispute In Solicitor And Client Assessments: The Court Of Appeal Speaks

The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of both Master Gordon-Saker (at first instance) and HHJ Klein (on appeal) which we reported last year that the former client’s Points of Dispute on a Solicitors Act assessment between himself and his former solicitors were insufficiently particularised as to afford the solicitors to know the case against them and meaningfully respond in advance of the assessment hearing.

Fee Remission

Is The Failure To Obtain A Fee Remission A Bar To Inter Partes Recovery?

A challenge we are seeing increasingly often goes along the lines of:

“if the receiving party could have, but did not, obtain a fee remission then the fee in question was unreasonably incurred and is not payable by the paying party.”

There have been some competing first instance decisions, leaving the issue ripe for argument in each case.

ANTHONY V COLLINS [2020] EWHC B14 (COSTS)

Know Your Retainer Documentation Or Pay The Price

This case highlightds the importance of familiarising yourself fully with the retainer documentation under which you are acting.

In the course of a in the SCCO Deputy Master Friston (costs judge) found that the conditional fee agreements (there were three, of which one “The Third Agreement” was relevant to the instant proceedings) were so confusing as to be almost incomprehensible.

All inclusive

An Interest Exclusive Part 36 Offer Is Not A Part 36 Offer

Can a Part 36 Offer which excludes interest be validly made either generally or in the context of proceedings?

It is been an issue on which a number of judges have held diverging views.

In the present case, His Honour Judge Dight CBE, upholding Deputy Master Campbell’s first instance decision, had concluded that an offer exclusive of interest cannot be a valid Part 36 offer.

In contrast, in a matter we reported in May, Horne v Prescot (No 1) Ltd [2019] EWHC 1322 (QB), Nicol J, dismissing an appeal from Master Nagalingam, held that, at least in the context of detailed assessment proceedings, an offer excluding interest can be an effective Part 36 offer.

So, what is the answer?

Fixed recoverable costs

Part 36 Acceptance And Conventional (Assessed) vs Fixed Recoverable Costs

Overturning a first appeal decision of His Honour Judge Wulwik in the High Court, Lord Justice Newey determined that acceptance of a Part 36 Offer which referred to CPR 36.13 and offered to pay “costs to be subject to if not agreed” did not amount to contracting out of fixed costs, which continued to apply.

Informed Consent

CPR 46.9(3): Informed Consent In Solicitors Act Detailed Assessments

Master Victoria McCloud (sitting as a Deputy Costs Judge in the SCCO) determined preliminary issues in the course of a proceeding under the Solicitors Act 1974, namely:
whether the entirety of the solicitors’ fees were incurred with the client’s consent in the sum claimed; or, alternatively
if not whether at least the level of success fee was incurred with consent.

FULLICK & ORS v THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE FOR THE METROPOLIS [2019] EWHC 1941 (QB)

Recoverability Of Inquest Costs And Proportionality

This was the first appeal in which the recoverability of inquest costs in civil claims has fallen to be considered since introduction of the Jackson reforms. It followed an assessment of costs by Deputy Master Keens in the SCCO when he allowed the sum of £88,356.22 as a against an original claim of £122,000 excl VAT. The claim was for damages for breach of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, negligence and misfeasance in public office following the death of Ms Jones who became ill at a police station.

West and Demouilpied: ATE Premiums, Reasonableness And Proportionality

The long awaited and much anticipated judgment in these appeals has been handed down.
The appeals raised a number of specific issues arising out of the respondent’s successful challenge on an assessment of the claimant’s costs to the amount of the ATE insurance premium recoverable by the appellants.
They also raised a number of wider points relating to reasonableness and proportionality and the proper approach to the assessment of costs.

JLE v Warrington & Halton Hospitals NHS Trust Foundation Trust [2019] EWHC 1582 (QB)

High Court restores Claimant‘s ’additional amount’ under CPR 36.17(4)

This was an appeal against the decision of Master McCloud not to award the claimant a 10% ‘additional amount’ under CPR 36.17(4) on grounds that it would be disproportionate and unjust to do so where the claimant had beaten its own offer by just £7,000 on a bill assessed at £431,813.05.