Costs News

17 October 2019
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News in brief - 17.10.2019

Precedent H guidance notes updated

The guidance notes for Precedent H have been updated to support the changes made in the 109th update of the CPR. These draw the line between costs incurred up to and including the date of the first costs management hearing (incurred costs) and costs to be incurred after that date (budgeted costs).

The guidance notes can be found here.

 

SCCO rejects challenge to counsel’s fees in case that exit EL/PL protocol

A costs judge has rejected the argument that counsel’s fees are not payable in an EL/PL protocol claim when incurred after the case exited the protocol.

At first instance, Costs Officer Martin held that the relevant provisions permitted recovery of counsel's fee for advising in conference as a disbursement. However, he reduced the sum claimed from £650 to £500 (plus VAT).

On appeal in Dover v Finsbury Food Group PLC [2019] EWHC B11 (Costs), Master Brown rebuffed a wide-ranging attack on the issue and, on the key point, did not find merit in the defendant’s argument that CPR 45.29I(2)(c) only preserved the recoverability of the fees of counsel or a special solicitor incurred before the claim leaves the protocol.

“It might legitimately be asked why would, consistent with the aims of the scheme, there be a 'preserved right' to claim for advice incurred while the claim was in the protocol but not otherwise? If it were intended that an allowance should be made for the relevant advice, then presumably it would be recoverable when the fee was incurred.”

Looking at the legislative history, he said, “it seems to me clear that the particular concerns raised, which the government accepted, were that without the provision of such costs there was a risk that claims would be under-settled… Hence, specialist and independent advice (if reasonably required) would be payable by, in effect, a ring-fenced payment in the form of a disbursement".

Peter Mant (instructed by Thompsons) for the claimant/respondent; Matthew Hoe (Solicitor of Taylor Rose TTKW) for the defendant/appellant.

 

Wales “nearly a Costs Lawyer-free zone”

A review of the legal sector in Wales, commissioned by the Welsh government, has found that “a mere 15” Costs Lawyers are registered as working in the country – 13 in Cardiff and two in Swansea.

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