The defendant costs specialists

Important lessons to learn

By on Feb 15, 2016 | 6 comments

Last Monday I attended a detailed assessment hearing concerning a bill totalling £93,000. The last offer made by the paying party, based on my advice, was for £27,500. The bill was assessed at £69,000. This proves what a terrible costs lawyer I am and how wholly unrealistic the offers are I put forward.

My opponent was junior costs counsel. This case also proves it is a mug’s game to instruct a costs lawyer to undertake advocacy when much better results would have been secured if my client had instructed costs counsel instead of me.

On Friday I attended another detailed assessment hearing concerning a bill totalling £383,000. The last offer made by the paying party, based on my advice, was for £175,000. The bill was assessed at £155,000. This proves what a brilliant costs lawyer I am, if, perhaps, rather overly cautious, and thus overly generous, when formulating offers.

My opponent was a top costs QC whose brief fee was over six time what I charged my client. This case also proves that my advocacy skills are up there with the top QCs and that instructing specialist costs counsel, rather than a costs lawyer, is a grotesque waste of money.

Monday’s case was before a Deputy District Judge whereas Friday’s case was before a Regional Costs Judge, which may or may not prove anything.

What both cases do prove is the spectacular unpredictability of the assessment process and the difficultly in trying to advise a client.

    6 Comments

  1. Wow Simon. How long have you been doing costs for?! It’s only just now that you are realising that costs assessments are unpredictable. You win some and you lose some 🙂

    Not Simon Gibbs

    15th February 2016

  2. Proves perhaps your negotiating skills are rusty, as you are spending too much time in hearings? (*tongue firmly in cheek*)

    Anonymous

    15th February 2016

  3. We’ve all been there.

    But nothing remains as embarrassing as advising a client that they will lose on a particular point, or the whole thing because of at least 25 recent judgments you can rattle off without looking them up… only to win on the day.

    Paul

    15th February 2016

  4. Alas it has always been this way. It can be somewhat disheartening when your instructing solicitor has totally disregarded your advice throughout and refused to make what you consider to be reasonable settlement proposals and then they end up coming up trumps on assessment.

    There is a still a lot to be said for “knowing your Judges” and particularly which ones are especially paying or receiving party friendly.

    Old & Weary Costs Draftsman

    15th February 2016

  5. Same issues down under Simon, and I suspect worldwide.

    Liz Harris

    15th February 2016

  6. Paul it must happen a lot if you are acting for a paying defendant!

    Disgrutled claimant solicitor

    18th February 2016

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