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.
Master Gordon-Saker determined in this case that the solicitors’ retainer letter did not entitle them to render interim statute bills to their client as, whilst it entitled them to invoice the client monthly, it did not expressly provide that such invoices would be final bills for the periods that they covered.
This was an appeal from a decision of Master Nagalingam in which he found that a bill rendered by the solicitors to their former client had not been paid and that “special circumstances” existed such that a detailed assessment, pursuant to section 70 of the Solicitors Act 1974, should be carried out.
Master Rowley determines that special circumstance exist by reason of a discrepancy between costs estimates provided and the costs actually billed.
Costs that are disallowed for want of retainer should not factor in the calculation of the one fifth rule.