Thaxton v Goodman (A Child) [2010] EWHC 90182 (Costs)

Posted on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

This was an appeal regarding the recoverability of Counsel’s fees generally for attending infant approval hearings.

The Claimant (now Respondent) had been injured in a road traffic accident. Damages were agreed in the sum of £1,000 and the matter proceeded to an Infant Approval Hearing. The Settlement was approved and the Respondent submitted a Schedule of Costs which had been calculated under the provisions of CPR Part 45 Section II. The claim for solicitors’ profit costs was compromised and so the only remaining issue between the parties was Counsel’s fee for attending the Infant Settlement Approval Hearing. The Respondent submitted at detailed assessment that CPR Part 45 Section II did not apply as the damages which were recovered amounted to only £1,000, therefore this was a small claims matter and this was accepted by the Costs Officer.

On appeal, Master Howarth found that CPR Part 45 Section II did not apply. Where the Part 8 procedure was followed, the claim is treated as allocated to the multi track and so as a consequence, costs were to be assessed in accordance with the ordinary provisions of Rule 44.4, with costs to be assessed on the standard basis, taking into account the factors in assessing the reasonableness of incurring the costs in the case as in Rule 44.5.

Responsibility was taken by the Respondent’s Solicitor in advising the litigation friend to settle the claim in the sum of £1,000 and Master Haworth found that it was reasonable for a representative to attend the Infant Settlement Approval Hearing with the costs claimed for Counsel’s attendance in the sum of £150 being reasonable and allowed.

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