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.“
“There is a reason that the court requires a standard form for a schedule of costs in litigation. It is because the parties, solicitors, counsel and judges develop a degree of familiarity with the format. They know what costs go where and it becomes quite easy to look at the schedule, with the various headings, in the way that the defendant produced its schedule, and form a view as to whether the costs are reasonably incurred and proportionate in amount.”
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.
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.
This was an appeal by the mother in Children Act proceedings against an order that she do pay £109,394 in costs. In the course of the proceedings the mother had been given a four year prison sentence in Russia for attempting to bribe a police officer to instigate criminal charges against the father in order to further her own claim on the children. Despite her incarceration, the mother had continued to pursue an appeal against an order that the father have custody of the children, before finally conceding, leaving only the incidence of costs to be decided.
HHJ Simon Brown QC, the pioneer of costs budgeting, has given instant reward for keeping within a court approved budget, with a summary assessment of costs in the sum of £351,000 payable within 14 days.