Harris & Anor – v – Moat Housing Group-South Ltd [2007] EWHC 3092 (QB)

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007

The Claimants were represented by two firms of solicitors. When they were granted public funding, instructions were transferred to the second solicitors. Both solicitors agreed to submit separate Bills of Costs, but they failed to inform the Defendant’s solicitors of this. A Bill was served by the second solicitors which did not include the costs of the first solicitors. After an agreement had been reached by negotiation for the second solicitors’ costs, the first solicitors served a Bill of Costs amounting to £53,127.48. The Costs Judge ‘regarded Hyman and Teff v Segalov [1952] P 241 as still good law’ and therefore struck out the Bill of Costs of the first solicitors.

It was submitted by the appellants that if a claim for another solicitor’s costs failed to be included, this should not lead to the automatic disallowance of those costs and that there was no rule or practice direction that stipulated that only one notice or Bill could be served. However, Mr. Justice Clarke dismissed the appeal and said if ‘the receiving party is entitled to recover his costs of instructing more than one solicitor the practice direction requires him to include the costs of each solicitor separately in the bill. If he fails to include the costs of his previous solicitor, and the costs judge completes his assessment of the costs without regard to the previous solicitor’s costs and proceeds to a final certificate, the receiving party cannot claim a further assessment.’

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2007/3092.html

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