Kerry Underwood

£786 AN HOUR OK FOR GRADE B SAYS HIGH COURT (BUT YOU GET STRUCK OFF IF YOU ARE A PI LAWYER)

with 2 comments


The matters dealt with in this piece are examined in great detail in my three volume, 1,300 page book Personal Injury Small Claims, Portals and Fixed Costs – price £50 and available from Underwoods Solicitors here.

Kerry Underwood offers consultancy services in relation to this and other matters and details are here.

In

Ohpen Operations UK Ltd v Invesco Fund Managers Ltd [2019] EWHC 2504 (TCC)

the Technology and Construction Court, part of the High Court, carried out a summary assessment of costs and, in considering hourly rates, said that solicitors providing the appropriate skill and expertise to ensure the proper and efficient conduct of litigation are entitled to charge the market hourly rate for their area of practice.

Here, the defendant successfully applied for a stay, and the claimant was liable for the defendant’s costs of that application, which were summarily assessed by a full High Court Judge.

This was a half-day interlocutory application concerning a dispute about claims and counterclaims arising out of the development and implementation of a digital online platform for buying and selling investment funds.

Thus, it was socially useless.

A full High Court Judge allowed recoverable costs, on the standard basis, at £46,000.

Those of us in Hemel Hempstead, and elsewhere would think about 5% of that figure, that is £2,300, is about right.

This Disney Land decision, by a full High Court Judge, is otherwise interesting for the comments in relation to the Senior Courts Costs Office guideline hourly rates:

“It is unsatisfactory that the guidelines are based on rates fixed in 2010 and reviewed in 2014, as they are not helpful in determining reasonable rates in 2019. The guideline rates are significantly lower than the current hourly rates in many London City solicitors, as used by both parties in this case. Further, updated guidelines, would be very welcome.” (Paragraph 14)

The judge allowed £534 an hour for a Grade C fee earner and £786 an hour for a Grade B fee earner.

Costs were allowed in relation to a Grade A fee earner, but the judge does not say how much per hour she allowed, but given the above figures, it must be pushing £1,000 an hour.

The same High Court struck off Mr Good, a personal injury lawyer, for claiming £400 an hour from the National Health Service Litigation Authority in clinical negligence matters, which are very obviously much more important than this litigation – see my blog

CHARGING £400 AN HOUR TO OTHER SIDE WARRANTS STRIKING OFF: THE GOOD CASE: A TERRIBLE DECISION .

Shame on you!

Hasta la Victoria siempre!

Written by kerryunderwood

October 10, 2019 at 7:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. This hourly rate would put a Grade B solicitor on a salary of around £1.5mm, so it’s clearly overstating the hourly rate by a factor of 10 or 15 times even for London. Even at a proper hourly rate the true costs of this half-day hearing would struggle to make it to a four digit figure, it should have been in the hundreds of pounds, not the tens of thousands. Surprised the claimant didn’t argue proportionality for this length and type of hearing.

    As for the guideline rates, there is an argument that these should actually be reduced from the 2010 and 2014 rates as there are far more practicing solicitors to choose from now compared to then.

    This decision is a good example of why it’s a bad idea to let ex lawyers decide how much other lawyers get paid.

    Anonymous

    October 10, 2019 at 1:30 pm


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