Costs News

18 February 2021
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News in brief - 18.02.2021

New issue of Costs Lawyer now out

The January/February 2021 issue of Costs Lawyer can be found by clicking here. Topics covered include the guideline hourly rates, damages-based agreements, payments on account, pre-judgment interest and more besides.

 

Master Haworth retires

Peter Haworth – a familiar figure to many, including our conference attendees – retired as a judge of the Senior Courts Costs Office last month.

Aged 69, he was admitted as a solicitor in 1975 before being appointed as a deputy district judge in 1992. A former member of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee, he was appointed a deputy master in 2002, a Lieutenant Bailiff of Guernsey in 2003 and a costs judge in 2006.

 

QC highlights £500,000 costs for one-day JR

Jolyon Maugham QC, the barrister who runs not-for-profit campaign group the Good Law Project, this week made public a redacted version of the £503,000 N260A produced by the government ahead of a high-profile one-day judicial review hearing.

The case concerns a £840,000 contract awarded by the Cabinet Office in March 2020 to Public First, a small polling company with links to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and the then-chief adviser to the Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings. The claim is that there was no formal contract, prior advertisement or competitive tender process, and so was improper.

Commenting on the N260A, Mr Maugham wrote on Twitter: “Government used an incredible 11 solicitors (four senior solicitors, i.e. over eight years PQE), six junior counsel and two QCs.

“As a result, Government has incurred £70k communicating with themselves internally. Note – this is not communicating with counsel, which they include separately. This is just their lawyers, speaking to themselves.

“Government has incurred a staggering £205k of costs preparing documents for a one-day judicial review.

“The total time spent by their solicitors (again, not counsel, not the external law firm, just Government's own solicitors) is just short of 2,000 hours (1,983 hours to be exact).

“Indeed, so staggering are the Government's costs of a one-day judicial review, that they spent 42 hours just preparing the schedule of costs.”

Judgment on the judicial review was reserved by Mrs Justice O’Farrell.

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