SENIOR COURTS COSTS OFFICE
Royal Courts of Justice
London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| Mrs Mavis Ann Hobbs
|- and -
|Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
Mr Regnauld (instructed by Acumension Ltd) for the Defendant
Hearing dates: 9 October 2015 and 2 November 2015
Crown Copyright ©
MASTER O'HARE :
Background facts of the claim
Solicitor's Hourly rates
Conference in October 2013
"On basis of experts' reports received, a conference is NOT a reasonable step for a Grade B fee earner to take".
" it was necessary to pin the Surgeon down on the duration of that negligent delay "
"The conference saved costs being incurred at a later stage of the proceedings by identifying the issues and our case on them."
Had the advice [given at the conference] been negative, the claim would not have been pursued."
"Costs incurred are proportionate if they bear a reasonable relationship to(a) the sums in issue in the proceedings;
(b) the value of any non-monetary relief in issue in the proceedings;
(c) the complexity of the litigation;
(d) any additional work generated by the conduct of the paying party; and
(e) any wider factors involved in the proceedings, such as reputation or public importance."
"Where the amount of costs is to be assessed on the standard basis Costs which are disproportionate in amount may be disallowed or reduced even if they were reasonably or necessarily incurred "
" in an assessment of costs on the standard basis, proportionality should prevail over reasonableness and the proportionality test should be applied on a global basis. The court should first make an assessment of reasonable costs, having regard to the individual items in the bill, the time reasonably spent on those items and the other factors listed in [what is now CPR 44.4(3)] and consider whether the total figure is proportionate. If the total figure is not proportionate, the court should make an appropriate reduction. There is already precedent for this approach in relation to the assessment of legal aid costs in criminal proceedings: see R v Supreme Court Taxing Office ex p John Singh and Co  1 Costs LR 49." (Final Report, para.37).
"a sensible assessment of the consequence of aggregation in the light of the overall complexities of the case and, above all, the experience of the Determining Officer and Taxing Master".
" the obvious way of introducing proportionality is that adopted in the [Final Report], namely by effectively reversing the approach taken in Lownds. In this way, as Sir Rupert said, disproportionate costs, whether necessarily incurred or reasonably incurred, should not be recoverable from the paying party. To put the point quite simply: necessity does not render costs proportionate. Reference to necessity can be said to be positively misleading as it suggests necessary to achieve justice on the merits: substantive justice. A fundamental tenet of both Woolf and Jackson, accepts that that aim must be tempered by the need for economy and efficiency, and, above all proportionality. On one view, once one has a proportionality requirement, necessity may add nothing; on another view, any test which incorporates necessity is one which will all too easily see necessity trump proportionality. However, it may well be that it is right to retain necessity as a requirement, provided that it is borne firmly in mind that it is one of two hurdles which have to be cleared."(Lord Neuberger MR)
" In a case such as this where very large amounts of money are at stake, it may be entirely reasonable from the point of view of a party incurring costs to spare no expense that might possibly help to influence the result of the proceedings. It does not follow, however, that such expense should be regarded as reasonably or proportionately incurred or reasonable and proportionate in amount when it comes to determining what costs are recoverable from the other party. What is reasonable and proportionate in that context must be judged objectively. The touchstone is not the amount of costs which it was in a party's best interests to incur but the lowest amount which it could reasonably have been expected to spend in order to have its case conducted and presented proficiently, having regard to all the relevant circumstances. Expenditure over and above this level should be for a party's own account and not recoverable from the other party. This approach is first of all fair. It is fair to distinguish between, on the one hand, costs which are reasonably attributable to the other party's conduct in bringing or contesting the proceeding or otherwise causing costs to be incurred and, on the other hand, costs which are attributable to a party's own choice about how best to advance its interests. There are also good policy reasons for drawing this distinction, which include discouraging waste and seeking to deter the escalation of costs for the overall benefit for litigants."
Costs incurred in respect of Dr D.M. Levy, Consultant Anaesthetist which I notionally valued at £600 plus VAT.
Costs incurred in respect of the Part 36 offer to settle for £10,000 which I notionally valued at £200 plus VAT.
On other profit costs in the relevant period, the difference between the Grade B rate I had allowed and £165, the appropriate rate for a Grade C fee earner: I notionally valued this discount at £400 plus VAT.