Legal Cost Specialists

Recovering photocopying costs

By on Apr 18, 2012 | 13 comments

CPD 4.16(5) is well known:

“The cost of making copies of documents will not in general be allowed but the court may exceptionally in its discretion make an allowance for copying in unusual circumstances or where the documents copied are unusually numerous in relation to the nature of the case. Where this discretion is invoked the number of copies made, their purpose and the costs claimed for them must be set out in the bill.”

However, I am grateful to Friston’s Civil Costs – Law and Practice for reminding me of the views of Evans J in Johnson v Reed Corrugated Cases Ltd (1990) Costs LR, Core vol 180 at 185.

“[Counsel for the receiving party] submitted that the maximum number of pages which might require copying in a personal injury case of a normal kind would be 1,000, and that therefore this case did involve an unusual number. I sympathise with this submission, but I am troubled that neither the plaintiffs nor the registrar have made an allowance for the number which in the normal case would form part of the solicitor’s general overheads.”

Where the Court does invoke its discretion to allow photocopying it should allow only a reasonable amount for the costs in excess of those that would have been incurred under normal circumstances.


  1. Johnson lives!happy memories of the good old days!

    Gary Stevens

    18th April 2012

  2. Ah the good old days, I’m expecting a post about the Scale 1 maxima next!


    18th April 2012

  3. If Johnson v Reed Corrugated is still good law,why the headlong rush from the old “A” and “B” factors on hourly rates that it roundly endorsed following a long line of previous authorities. Those factors/method of caculations were never abolished by statute,rule or regulation.
    Guideline hourly rates, inter alia,only contributed (wrongly ) to the idea they had been. The latter were intended ,initially, for the untrained eyes only of Judges when Summary Assessments were introduced

    functus officio

    18th April 2012

  4. If the costs of copy documents is not allowed, why do parties agree to pay the same as a matter of course particularly at disclosure/discovery stage?

    Any thoughts?

    Graham Whittaker

    18th April 2012

  5. Graham; the rules relating to disclosure are different. If one wishes to copy a doc as part of the inspection process then one must agree to pay the copying charges- r.31.5. That does not alter the position in respect of general copying at DA.

    Defendant Solicitor

    18th April 2012

  6. Why are the rules different? Why have one rule for disclosure and effectively 1 rule for preparing trial bundles. Guess its a bit like why have part 36 and part 47.19 etc.

    Graham Whittaker

    18th April 2012

  7. Still some truth in the old adage that the highest fee earner in the firm is usually the photocopier.

    Andy Ellis

    20th April 2012

  8. I only remember getting photocopying back once on a post-CPR case.

    It was a living Mesothelioma case and therefore time was a factor. The District Judge allowed me the entire costs of an external copying firm. He also allowed the costs of a courier for taking bundles to the Court even though the Solicitors were in the same town as the Court.

    I can see the logic of only allowing the costs over and above, but where do you draw that arbitrary line? Does the District Judge have to make an assessment of what would likely have been the cost of copying on a non-exceptional case in similar circumstances before establishing how much extra copying has been done here?

    Much more sensible just to decide that the case is exceptional and allow the copying in full as was done when I was allowed it.

    Brian Dempsey

    23rd April 2012

  9. doesnt the old 20% of base costs rule of thumb still apply for gauging if the copying is execptional or not – always worked in my assessments


    24th April 2012

  10. 20% rule?

    I think any case where the costs of photocopying was a equivalent to one fifth of the costs of the action would be exceptional. Either that or extremely unreasonable!

    Brian Dempsey

    24th April 2012

  11. Mr D, I’ll remember that when opposing your bills claiming routine photocopying in future 🙂


    26th April 2012

  12. Anonymous, I’m not sure who you are but my bills only seek photocopying in exceptional circumstances.

    Brian Dempsey

    30th April 2012

  13. Check the hc guidance.
    Of course copying charges are permitted.
    25p per sheet is the HHJ’S advice.


    15th April 2018

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