The Claimant solicitors acted for the Claimant in matrimonial proceedings between November 2013 and September 2018. Following a “long history of protracted, difficult litigation” including a divorce suit, ancillary relief and Family Law Act non-molestation and occupation order applications the Claimant faced total legal costs in the sum of £263,426.11.
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.
In our article How Relevant Is The SCCO Guide To Hourly Rates we looked at three cases in which two High Court Judges and the Senior Costs Judge independently commented on the passage of time since the guideline rates were last updated in 2010 and, consequentially, their relevance on detailed and summary assessments being conducted in 2020.
Following a successful private prosecution of his former co-director, resulting in three years of imprisonment, the claimant was awarded payment of his prosecution costs out of central funds. The designated officer allowed him the sum of £150,000 plus VAT as against a total sum of £427.909.66.
The designated officer’s determination was based largely on the disallowance of central London rates on grounds that adequate representation could have been found more locally and the application of a Singh reduction based on a comparator with the notional cost of the case being brought by the CPS.
The SCCO Guideline Hourly Rates were last updated in 2010. In 2014 they were reviewed by the then Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson MR, but left unchanged due to a lack of reliable evidence.
But how relevant are the guidelines five years on?
The SCCO Guide To Hourly Rates was last updated in 2010. In 2014 it was reviewed by the then Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson MR, but left unchanged due to a lack of reliable evidence.
But how relevant is the guide five years on?
This was a decision regarding alleged mis-certification of a costs budget. The case bore similarities to the facts in Tucker v Griffiths and Hampshire University Hospitals NHS Trust, another decision of Master Rowley. Both parties were critical of Master Rowley’s decision in Tucker, the defendant complaining that it was too lenient and the claimant contending that it had been too harsh as a finding of misconduct under CPR 44.11 had not been warranted on the facts.
This was a decision of Deputy Master Friston (author of Friston on Costs) in the Senior Courts Costs Office. Having determined that the Claimant had made and beaten a valid Part 36 Offer solely in relation to hourly rates the Master concluded that it would be unjust to award them an additional 10% uplift on the assessed profit costs.
Mr Justice Warby comments on hourly rates and the appropriate use of partner time in the course of setting costs budgets