Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in December, 2011

The certainty of litigation

By on Dec 29, 2011 | 3 comments

Nice quote from Christian Stuerwald and Leslie Perrin in a recent edition of Litigation Funding: “the only certainty in litigation is that the costs will be high, impossible to predict and difficult to manage”  

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Santa's naughty list

By on Dec 23, 2011 | 4 comments

One of the constant problems defendants face in low value RTA claims is claimant solicitors issuing proceedings at the earliest opportunity to avoid fixed costs. The case of Javed v British Telecommunications plc [2011] EWHC 90212 (Costs) is an interesting example of claimant solicitors being penalised for issuing proceedings unnecessarily and prematurely. Costs Judge Master Simons concluded: “I am in no doubt that the Claimant was unreasonable in commencing proceedings when she did. By issuing the proceedings when she did, the Claimant was in breach of the pre-action protocols. It is clear from the correspondence that at the time proceedings were issued a settlement was still being actively explored by the Defendant. … The Pre-Action Protocol states that the issue of proceedings is a last resort. It is noteworthy that the Solicitors’ file of correspondence shows that proceedings had been prepared at the beginning of September 2009, and had been signed by the Claimant on 9 September 2009, almost a month before any medical evidence was disclosed to the Defendant. This, in my judgment, shows an intention to issue proceedings, not as a last resort, but at the earliest opportunity. There was no necessity to issue proceedings as there was no danger of any limitation period expiring. The Defendant was actively engaging in settlement negotiations having already admitted liability and having already made a payment in respect of special damages. The Claimant’s solicitors were happy to incur the cost of preparing the proceedings even before they had disclosed any medical evidence or made any Part 36 offer. … This was a fairly standard, small road traffic accident claim. The only slight complication was the Claimant’s previous accident. Had the Claimant disclosed all the relevant medical evidence with her Part 36 offer, in accordance with the Pre-Accident Protocols, I have little doubt that this claim would have settled without the necessity for the issue of proceedings. Therefore my decision on the first issue is that the Claimant acted unreasonably in issuing proceedings.” The Defendant argued that as the Claimant had issued proceedings prematurely, the Claimant’s costs ought to be assessed by reference to the sums that would have been allowed had the proceedings not been issued. These costs would have...

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Of course it's a road traffic accident claim

By on Dec 21, 2011 | 3 comments

In costs law you can be sure of only one thing: If something looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably not a duck. Following on from my recent post as to When is an RTA not an RTA?, the decision of Costs Judge Master Campbell in Schneider v Door2door PTS Ltd [2011] EWHC 90210 (Costs) is worth reviewing. The issue being: “did the Claimant, Mrs Schneider, suffer injury in a road traffic accident, in which case her costs are limited to those fixed under the recoverable costs regime in CPR rule 45 Part II; or are they ‘at large’ because the accident was an accident, but not a road traffic accident and accordingly her costs are recoverable without limit, subject to being proportionate and reasonable?” The facts were that the claimant was offered transport by an NHS Trust after a hospital appointment. Following the appointment the claimant was waiting with another patient. Transport was provided by the defendant. The claimant was informed by the defendant that the steps at the side of the transport vehicle were not working. They were supposed to unfold so that the patients could use them to gain access to the vehicle. Instead, the defendant offered the claimant a steep ramp which was for wheelchairs or passage through the central part of the vehicle. She chose the latter. She was holding on to two contact points (one of which was a handle). She placed her foot high up and this was on the floor of the vehicle. As she transferred weight onto the right foot, she felt her hip dislocate. The subsequent claim for damages against the defendant for negligence succeeded with a costs order in the claimant’s favour. The claimant’s bill of costs sought a total of £22,982.91 including VAT and disbursements, whereas it was the defendant’s case that the costs should be limited to those payable under the fixed costs RTA regime in CPR 45 Section 2, so that no more than £800, plus 20% of the damages calculated at £1,000 and a success fee of 12.5% plus VAT together with a reasonable sum for the disbursements listed in CPR.45.10 (2), would be payable. The...

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Twittering costs law summaries

By on Dec 19, 2011 | 1 comment

I’ve been using Twitter for some time now. I’m not yet 100% convinced that this is the future, particularly for promoting law firms to the wider public. And who are those APIL tweets congratulating such-and-such for becoming an APIL senior litigator aimed at? However, it can be a useful way of providing quick links to useful bits of information elsewhere on the internet and getting the latest updates from others in the know. I’m going to start testing this to the limit and see if it is possible to summarise interesting costs law decisions in 140 characters or less (including link). I’m just glad I didn’t try to do this with the Court of Appeal judgment in Motto v Trafigura [2011] EWCA Civ 1150. (Any suggestions?) You can follow my future attempts here:!/GWS_LAW...

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Legal Costs Blog T-Shirts

By on Dec 16, 2011 | 0 comments

Our Legal Costs Blog branded range of t-shirts continue to be a big hit and received a recent mention on I did have planned a new line of his and hers t-shirts but one of my partners pulled these on the grounds of taste....

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