Holliday v E C Realisations Ltd [2008] EWHC 90103 (Costs)

Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2008

The matter concerned was a mesothelioma case which settled for £290,000 (including an interim payment of £40,000). Different hourly rates had been claimed by the Claimant’s solicitors at different periods. At detailed assessment, a Principal Costs Officer allowed composite rates which were higher than the figures suggested in the guideline rates. The success fee claimed of 67% was also allowed.

The Defendant appealed against both the hourly rates allowed to the Claimant’s solicitors and the success fees allowed to the Claimant’s solicitors and counsel by the Principal Costs Officer.

Master Gordon-Saker found that the guideline rates for summary assessment were not really of assistance to this matter. They were only guidelines and were not designed for detailed assessment. Master Gordon-Saker allowed the same rates as the principal Costs Officer for the partner and paralegal, but reduced the rates for the senior paralegal.

With regards to the success fee, Master Gordon-Saker found that a reasonable assessment of the prospects of success at the time the CFA was entered into would be no less than 75%, as opposed to the 60% being claimed and so this would mean a success fee of 33.3% and this was the success fee allowed for the Claimant’s solicitor’s success fee. Counsel’s success fee was reduced to 27.5% for reasons much the same and this part of the appeal was allowed.


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