The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in August, 2015

2015 Award for Most Bizarre Argument Advanced in Replies

By on Aug 26, 2015 | 4 comments

2015 Award for Most Bizarre Argument Advanced in Replies goes to the following included in reply arguing why costs were not disproportionate in matter which settled pre-trial for £2,500: “At the start of the claim, the Claimant made a Part 36 offer to settle the matter in the sum of £10,000. Relative to the costs that have since been incurred by both parties, had the Defendant’s accepted this sum or a lesser but similar figure the total figure for costs and damages would have been substantially lower than have ultimately proven to...

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Sexiest costs lawyers

By on Aug 25, 2015 | 4 comments

The Legal Cheek website has run an article on the 25 sexiest solicitors in the City. Clearly something similar should be done for those working in costs law. One only has to walk down the corridors of the Senior Courts Costs Office on a typical day to see where all the beautiful lawyers end...

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Dividing bills of costs

By on Aug 24, 2015 | 8 comments

The Senior Costs Judge Master Gordon-Saker has given definitive guidance as to how bills should be divided in the case of BP v Cardiff & Vale University Local Health Board [2015] EWHC B13: Divided between periods where different proportionality test applies: “In any case in which both approaches need to be taken it will be necessary to identify the work which falls before and after that date and to identify the sums claimed for the work done before and after that date. In my judgment where the case commenced on or after 1 April 2013, the bill covers costs for work done both before and after that date and the costs are to be assessed on the standard basis it must be both convenient and necessary for the bill to be divided into parts so as to distinguish between costs claimed for work done before 1 April 2013 and costs claimed for work done on or after 1 April 2013.”  Divided by phase where costs management order: “In order for the paying party and the court to know which items of work are claimed in relation to each phase the bill would need to be drawn in parts which reflect the phases. Although multi-part bills tend to obscure the overall picture, it seems to me that (unless a sensible alternative can be devised) in a case in which a budget has been approved or agreed and the costs are to be assessed on the standard basis it will be both necessary and convenient to draw the bill in parts which correspond with the phases of the budget.”  Divided between work done before and after a costs management order is made: “Within each part it will also be necessary to distinguish between the costs incurred before and after the budget was agreed or approved. This could be done without further sub-division by use of italics, bold, superscript or some other formatting device.”  Divided to show work relating to costs budgeting work: “Where a costs management order has been made and the receiving party’s budget has been agreed by the paying party or approved by the court it will be both necessary and convenient that the bill be divided so as...

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Cost of drafting Precedent H

By on Aug 20, 2015 | 8 comments

PD 3E para.7.2 is a deceptively simple provision: “Save in exceptional circumstances- (a) the recoverable costs of initially completing Precedent H shall not exceed the higher of £1,000 or 1% of the approved or agreed budget” Without any further qualification, the £1,000 figure must be taken to be inclusive of any success fee or VAT claimed. (Readers will recall a similar issue arose with the first version of the rules concerning the £1,500 provisional assessment cap. It required an amendment to allow for VAT in addition but remains inclusive of any success fee.) This means that for a costs budget of up to £100,000, the base costs recoverable (assuming a 100% success fee and VAT are claimed) would be limited to £416.67 for preparing Precedent H. The 1% figure is more problematic. Again, without qualification, this must be taken to include VAT and any success fee. However, Precedent H expressly excludes VAT and success fee. This would appear to mean, for example, that for an approved or agreed budget totalling £150,000 the recoverable costs are limited to £1,500 fully inclusive, even if with success fee and VAT the recoverable costs at the end of the case (once VAT and success fee is allowed) might be well in excess of £300,000. The problems do not stop there. What is the total of the approved or agreed budget? As explained in Cook on Costs 2015: “There appears to be some confusion as to what constitutes the ‘approved budget’ for the purposes of the percentage calculation. As the court may only budget costs to be incurred, it seems clear that the percentage is only of the sum approved by the court/agreed by the parties as the ‘to be incurred’ costs within those phases budgeted. This view is supported by the fact that CPR PD 3E, para 7 refers back to CPR 3.15. CPR 3.15(1) makes it clear that a costs management order may only be made in respect of costs to be incurred and CPR 3.15(2) makes it clear that budget for these purposes relates to the agreed or court approved figure after revision by the court. As the court cannot revise ‘incurred’ costs’, then the agreed or approved budget seems to...

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Fixed costs working party

By on Aug 18, 2015 | 13 comments

The Association of Costs Lawyers is inviting members to apply to join a Fixed Recoverable Costs Working Party to consider the potential extension of the fixed recoverable costs regime and draft a consultation paper. What are the odds the response to any consultation paper is overwhelmingly that the extension of fixed fees is a “bad...

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