THE DANGERS OF DISPUTING COSTS (IT COULD COST YOU OVER £240,000…)
The judgment of Mrs Justice Lambert in Radia v Marks  EWHC 145 (QB) is also interesting reading in that it gives an insight into the assessment of costs in earlier proceedings. It highlights the dangers and costs of costs proceedings themselves.
The claimant brought an action for professional negligence. The claim was, in essence, for an indemnity in relation to costs that had been incurred when the claimant had been unsuccessful in employment tribunal proceedings and had a costs order made against him.
THE COSTS INVOLVED
The judgment sets out, in summary, what costs were awarded against the claimant in the earlier tribunal proceedings.
Following the refusal of permission, there was a contested detailed costs assessment (lasting, it seems, over seven days). On 5 May 2021, the Tribunal awarded Jefferies £600,672.66 made up of assessed costs of £357,844, the costs of the detailed assessment of £138,044 and interest of £104,784. It is, in essence, those costs which are the subject of this claim.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THOSE ELEMENTS
We do not know the sum claimed in the initial bill. However it is clear that the claimant (then the paying party) had not made an offer sufficient to protect himself for an order for costs. As a result, in addition to the £357,844 additional costs he was liable for
- £138,044 – being the costs of the detailed assessment.
- £104,784 interest.
THE DANGERS THIS SHOWS
It is a reminder both that the costs of disputing a bill can be substantial and that the interest on costs can mount considerably if interim payments are not made to offset them.
Effective Part 35 offers, combined with realistic Part 36 offers, are an important part of the litigator’s armoury in these circumstances.