Costs News

03 October 2019
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News in brief - 03.10.2019

SCCO issues e-working guidance

With electronic working in the Senior Courts Costs Office starting on a voluntary basis on 7 October, the Senior Costs Judge, Andrew Gordon-Saker, has issued a practice note on what practitioners need to do to adapt to the new regime. It becomes compulsory from 20 January 2020.


CLSB advertises board vacancies

The Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) has begun a recruitment process for two new board members/non-executive directors: one lay director to join in January 2020 and one non-lay member (i.e. a Costs Lawyer) to join in April 2020.

The five-member board holds four meetings per year; non-executive directors are paid of £346 per board meeting, plus reasonable travel expenses.

The closing date for applications is 20 October 2019. The full details are here.


Interim payment order highlights value of approved budget

The High Court has highlighted the value of having an approved costs budget when seeking an interim payment on account of costs.

In Orexim Trading Ltd v Mahavir Port And Terminal Private Ltd (Costs) [2019] EWHC 2338 (Comm), Christopher Hancock QC, sitting as a High Court judge, made an unless order against the defendant, with judgment being entered if it failed to comply. In the subsequent costs decision, he said the claimant would “clearly” be entitled to its costs in the event this happened, but the claimant also sought an order for £369,000 on account of the costs.

The claimant's Precedent H was for just short of £1.1m, including pre-action costs of £48,537 and costs of £266,731 incurred at the time of the case management conference. Save a minor reduction in the costs of expert reports, the Precedent H was approved.

At the time of the present hearing, the claimant had incurred costs of £410,004, plus £29,352 for the costs of the application.

Mr Hancock QC followed the approach of Mr Justice Coulson (as he then was) in McInnes v Gross [2017] EWHC 127 (QB), in which he said the approved costs budget was the “appropriate starting point for the calculation of any interim payment on account of costs”. Coulson J then reduced the figure by 10%, “which I regard as the maximum deduction that is appropriate in a case where there is an approved costs budget”.

Mr Hancock QC said: “Using the same approach, 90% of £410,004 is £369,003. The claimant seeks a payment on account of £369,000.

“In view of the fact that I have not ordered indemnity costs, I have concluded that a slightly lower figure should be adopted, and I order that, if the unless order is not complied with, an interim payment on account of costs in the amount of £350,000 should be paid within 28 days of judgment being entered and served on the defendant.”


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