Blog - Monday 30 September 2013

Default Costs Certificate – Part 2 

I have another hearing today in which the other side is attempting to set aside a DCC. Their reason = it was an oversight (in not filing the Points of Dispute) and it should be set aside.

I’m optimistic. Lets see how much ‘blood is on the floor’ (key Master of the Rolls speech) by lunchtime.


Hourly Rates 

I told you hourly rates were one of the most misunderstood topics in costs. Even leading cost figures cannot agree.

Manoudakis v Easy Jet.  Yes it’s a first instance decision (SCCO – Master Howarth), but in it the Learned Judge is explicit. He almost shouted at the Defendant “the Guideline hourly rates are for bent metal RTA cases only”. The case is in the process of being reported.

A further commercial case was heard in the SCCO the end of September.  A small city firm were awarded £600 per hour for their Grade A Partner and £450 for their Grade B Associate. They were awarded such an hourly rate, because the Master accepted the fact that the Guideline hourly rates were designed for summary assessment, which rarely happens, but when it does – its at the end of Fast Track Trials or routine Application Hearings.

The guideline hourly rate of £409 for the City is nonsensical. City work is… International trade disputes, finance, unfair prejudice cases involving Russian oligarchs. Accordingly in the Mercantile and Commercial Court, they pay absolutely no regard to Guideline City rates.

As someone said not so recently, its about education, education, education. If you can direct a Judge to the right pieces of the CPR, the right case law and justify a claim for £450+ per hour (what I advise clients that serious brain injury, catastrophic PI and very serious Clin Neg cases warrant for the lead Partner), you will recover very close to that figure.  Ditto re high value, complex, serious commercial litigation.

In those cases, the Guideline hourly rates matter as much as how Accrington Stanley* got on at the weekend.  

* - Please, all Accrington Stanley fans which read this blog (hundreds, if not thousands), please do not send letters of complaint. Your team is very important, probably more so than the Guideline hourly rates.