The price of justice: gratis
The case of Berry v Spousals (Midlands) Limited & Cape Darlington – (Birmingham CC) 24/4/07 concerned an asbestos related claim which settled for £5,000. The sticking point was the costs. As the judge commented on the subsequent costs appeal:
“I will wager that the parties here, their lawyers, have spent more time dealing with and worrying about costs than about Mr Berry’s claim for damages. … On 5th May a notice of commencement and a bill of costs were sent to the Defendants seeking costs of £39,007.95. This included a success fee of 100 per cent. Mr Berry might have thought perhaps that there was more merit in being a solicitor than being compensated for an asbestos related injury.”
Fortunately the story had a happy ending and the Claimant’s solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, were found to have a defective CFA and their costs were disallowed.