Successful Defence to an Application for Costs

In this complex case, Rachel’s client had previously issued a claim against his former solicitor requesting permission for an assessment of bills already paid by him for work undertaken in defending criminal charges. He had been prosecuted for various parking ticket offences and, despite an initial estimate that the cost of defending these proceedings would be in the region of £5,000, the final bill from his solicitors came to over £61,000.

This claim was fiercely contested by the Defendant firm of solicitors which was acting for itself with the assistance of specialist costs Counsel. The trial of the matter took over one day with judgment being reserved. The Judge’s decision was that there were special circumstances which meant that the bulk of the costs could be subject to assessment and review. However, at that point, he lost on what was arguably his main point (whether the bills had been interim or statute bills) and the Judge also commented in her Judgment that the way in which his case had been presented by the Claimant’s trial counsel had increased the costs incurred by the Defendant firm.

Rachel was then instructed to represent him at the costs hearing held to determine which party should bear the costs of the claim and in what proportion (“the cost of the costs”). The Defendant had incurred some £35,000 in defending the claim and argued that the Claimant should pay 80% of those costs on account of the Judge’s findings and comments in her Judgment.

Rachel successfully opposed their application to those costs and instead limited her client’s costs liability to £2,165. The Defendant firm was ordered to pay the full costs claimed by Rachel’s client. This was a tremendous result for the client who had needed to wait nearly 12 months to have the court make its decision on who should pay the “cost of the costs”.