I accept that in relation to a summary assessment on an indemnity basis, it may be appropriate to adopt rates that are marginally in excess of the guideline rates but what is reasonable depends ultimately not on the value of the litigation as a whole but on the nature of the application in respect of which costs are sought. This was a relatively straight forward application for an extension of time to serve witness statements. Whilst I am prepared to adopt the London 1 rates, essentially on the basis of an acceptance by the defendant that that is appropriate in the circumstances, given the nature of the application it is entirely inappropriate that I should attempt to exercise whatever jurisdiction I have to assess costs by reference to a rate that is higher than the guideline rate. Anything in excess of the guideline rate has to be justified, and Mr Sprange realistically has not attempted to do so. Therefore all sums for which payment is due under this assessment will be calculated at the London 1 guideline rates applicable for the appropriate fee earners.“
The consequences of Part 36 can be punishing, but it is a separate question whether they are unjust. The justice of Part 36 is that decisions about litigation should be economically utilitarian: it actively discourages litigation on ‘points of principle’ by making litigation not fought on a commercial basis a high stakes activity.
In Belsner v Cam Legal Services Ltd, Mr Justice Lavender determined that 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.
In this short decision Deputy Master Raeburn considered the effect of the Claimant’s failure to file and serve an N260 Statement of Costs in advance of the hearing before him in accordance with CPR PD 44, paragraph 9.5(4) and 9.6.
A short reminder from The Honourable Mr Justice Calver that an award of indemnity basis costs does not hand the receiving party a blank cheque.
In this short judgment Mr Christopher Hancock QC (sitting as a Judge of the High Court) confirmed the position where a party has a contractual entitlement to costs.
The defendants in this anti-competition and breach of contract case sought security for costs against the claimant.
The claimant agreed with D4-D8 to provide security for 65% of their incurred and anticipated costs. However, D4-D8 sought security at a higher level than this based upon a potential award of indemnity costs given the “wide ranging and serious allegations of impropriety, which may include deceit”.
The defendants’ case was based largely on the decisions in Danilina v Chernukhin  EWHC 2503 (Comm) (which we reported on here) and Re Ingenious Litigation  EWHC 235 (Ch). In both cases the court awarded security at 75%.
Another decision on indemnity costs arising from a failure to mediate.
Having beaten his own offer at trial the Claimant was awarded indemnity costs under CPR 36.17(4)(b) from 21 days after the date on which it was made.
The Claimant also claimed indemnity costs on a broader basis and for a longer period by reason of the Defendant’s failure to engage in settlement discussions. or contemplate any form of ADR.
Following the dismissal of all claims by the High Court in this construction dispute, and an award of costs on the standard basis to the appellant (defendant), the Court of Appeal had to determine three issues, namely:
a) Whether it was a case in which the respondents’ pursuit of what were said to be “speculative, weak, opportunistic or thin claims” could properly be described as out of the norm such as to warrant an order for indemnity costs.
b) Whether the respondents’ failures to accept and subsequently to beat the appellant’s Part 36 offer, made at a very early stage in the proceedings, also meant (either separately or taken cumulatively with the pursuit of these particular claims) that an order for indemnity costs was warranted.
c) The relevance, if any, of the fact that the appellant’s approved costs budget was said to be £415,000, but that any assessment on the indemnity basis would start at the appellant’s actual costs figure of not less than £724, 265.