Costs News

24 February 2021
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News in brief - 25.02.2021

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.

 

Carpenter takes the helm at Hailsham Chambers

Jamie Carpenter QC has been named the new head of Hailsham Chambers’ renowned costs group. He takes over from Andrew Post QC, who has led the group for more than a decade and will remain an active member.

The chambers said: “We thank Andrew for his hard work, which has contributed in no small way to the development of Hailsham’s market-leading costs team, and we wish Jamie every success in his new role.”

 

Interim costs payments in budgeted cases will normally be 90%, High Court confirms

The “developing body of law” indicates that interim payments on account of costs should be 90% of the budgeted sum, Gavin Mansfield QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, has ruled.

In Puharic v Silverbond Enterprises Ltd [2021] EWHC 389 (QB), the claimant offered 50% of the successful defendant's budgeted costs as a payment on account, arguing that this was a reasonable amount.

The judge said: “In my judgment, the claimant's proposal fails to have regard to the developing body of law as to the relationship between costs management and detailed assessment. I accept the defendant's submissions on this point.

“The court should have regard to the fact that on detailed assessment the costs judge, pursuant to CPR 3.18, will not depart from the approved or agreed budget unless satisfied that there is good reason to do so (MacInnes v Gross [2017] 4 WLR 49 at paragraphs 25-28). In MacInnes, Coulson J (as he then was) regarded 10% as the maximum deduction appropriate in a case where there is an approved costs budget.

“The same point is made in the notes to the 2020 White Book at 44.2.12 p.1,384, where reference is made to Thomas Pink Ltd v Victoria's Secret UK Ltd [2014] EWHC 3258 (Ch), another case where 90% of the approved budgeted costs was awarded.”

Mr Mansfield said no submissions had been made to suggest there would be good reason to depart from the approved budget on detailed assessment. “Accordingly, I adopt the approach referred to in the authorities I mention above, and will include in a payment on account 90% of the approved budgeted costs.”

He went on to award 70% of the incurred costs as an interim payment, noting that the defendant's costs were “a little high” for one phase on the basis of a comment made on the costs management order by Master McCloud, “but not significantly so”. No other comments were recorded and the claimant made no specific submission as to the level of the incurred costs.

“The defendant seeks 50% of its budgeted costs of the PTR phase, on the basis that work was done, but the hearing was vacated. That is reasonable. The defendant also seeks payment on account in respect of its budgeting costs, which is reasonable,” he added.

This led to a total payment on account, including VAT, of £187,121.

Christopher Bamford (instructed by Karam Missick & Traube) for the claimant. Guy Olliff-Cooper (instructed by Candey) for the defendant.

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