Tandara v Weightmans Solicitors [2008] EWHC 90101 (Costs)

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2008

The issue in this matter was whether the Claimant could obtain a refund of payments made to the Defendant solicitors under a CFA which, because of non-compliance with the CFA Regulations which related to it, was unenforceable.

The client was the Claimant in a personal injury action and had instructed the Defendant solicitors by way of a CFA. The Claimant changes solicitors and the personal injury claim continued.

The Defendant solicitors invoiced the Claimant and bills were sent for detailed assessment, amounting to £45,385.08. This included a sum not exceeding £11,000 for disbursements.

At the detailed assessment hearing, the Defendants no longer wished to pursue any claim for outstanding profit costs and were content to refund any profit costs already paid under the bills sent for detailed assessment. This was a concession that had been made on the basis that the CFA between the parties was not enforceable because of non-compliance the applicable CFA regulations.

It was submitted that the Claimant was entitled to a refund of all the monies she had paid to the Defendants, whether for profit costs or disbursements, and not just in respect of the bills sent for detailed assessment.

It was found that the Claimant was not entitled to a refund of the disbursements paid. The matter of Hollins v Russell [2003] EWCA Civ 718 was referred to in that paid disbursements, which in the conduct of litigation had been properly incurred, were recoverable from a paying party, even where the CFA under which they were payable by the client was unenforceable, insofar as they were reasonable and proportionate.


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