Costs draftsmen hourly rates
The amount of the claim for costs in the case of Motto & Ors v Trafigura Ltd & Anor  EWHC 90201 (Costs) (15 February 2011) – £104,707,772.72 – was truly eye-watering. This was, on any analysis, a complex group action involving 30,000 claimants. So, what did Master Hurst have to say about the appropriate hourly rates to allow for the law costs draftsmen who prepared the bill of costs in what must be one of the largest and most complex legal costs claims ever seen?
“The final matter raised by Mr Bacon was the rate payable to the costs draftsmen. He suggested this should be the grade D rate, and criticised the various mistakes which had been thrown up in the way in which the bill had been drawn. I have no details of the number of costs draftsmen involved, but am aware that Mr Ellis, who is a very experienced costs draftsman, has been in court throughout the hearing. I would expect Mr Ellis to be charged at the grade C rate, and for other more junior costs draftsmen to be charged at the grade D rate. This is a matter which may have to be argued further when the details of the costs draftsmen’s involvement are known.”
One of the most well respected costs draftsman in the country, dealing with one of the most complex costs matters, and the provisional view was that grade C rates were appropriate with everyone else at grade D.
What a contrast with the views expressed in Cook on Costs:
“in heavy bills involving amounts considerably in excess of the fast track … the use of a Grade A or B draftsman … would be reasonable and proportionate”