The cost of security
One aspect of the preliminary issues judgment in Motto & Ors v Trafigura Ltd & Anor  EWHC 90201 (Costs) (15 February 2011) that I did not quite understand concerned the cost of security.
The claimants’ solicitors had needed to pay for security for their employees whilst working in a dangerous part of the world. These costs were claimed as a specific category of legal costs. Master Hurst allowed such costs and said:
“The decision which I have reached in relation to hourly rates does not reflect an additional element for the cost of security in the Ivory Coast, but rather, as Mr Williams submits, the overheads of a firm based in Clarkenwell. Had the hourly rates included an element for overseas security, I should have had to hear argument and details before arriving at a final figure. In the event, therefore, to the extent that it is reasonable and proportionate, the cost of security is recoverable.”
However, when dealing with the issue of what hourly rates to allow he ruled:
“In my view it is also necessary to take into account the inevitable increase in overheads that will be incurred by having to employ people to work in dangerous conditions overseas.”
Perhaps this was meant to mean that staff might have had to be paid more than normal to work in dangerous conditions, and thus the firm would be paying higher salaries (so incurring higher overheads) than would normally be the case. However, this might have been worded more clearly.