The recent judgment in Deutsche Bank AG v Sebastian Holdings Inc [2023] EWHC 9 (SCCO) illustrates the problems that receiving parties can cause for themselves.  The claimant’s bill was reduced by 31% (£16.9 million) despite the assessment being on an indemnity basis.  The judge observed that the receiving party  “not able to find a large proportion of the documents that had existed at the time that the work was done. There were, for example, very few attendance notes or file notes. Most of the documents that I was taken to were emails, but clearly they were also not complete.”  This led to a substantial reduction in recoverable costs.  Not every detailed assessment is as long running as this case, but the judgment highlights the need for lawyers to be aware of the requirements of a detailed assessment throughout the case.  Ensuring that costs are recoverable is not just the job of a costs lawyer. Every member of the legal team has to be aware of the fact that every aspect of the case could be subject to detailed scrutiny at assessment.

To that end I am presenting a webinar on the 6th April 2023 – The Costs Judge Over Your Shoulder 2023 – Maximising recovery. Booking details are available here.




“Here the reduction was very large and the reason for the reduction was in large measure because the solicitors had failed to keep attendance notes.  Such a failure materially contributes to the length and cost of assessment proceedings… [It] leads to a scrambling around among the papers when the costs are queried to seek to work out what was done at different stages often without any clear answer, followed by a guessing game on the part of the Costs Judge.”
Christopher Clarke J,in Fattal v Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd [2009] EWHC 1674 (Ch)

The assessment of costs is a crucial stage in litigation. Detailed assessment usually takes place after attempts at settlement of costs have failed and there are some major differences between the parties.  Relatively few litigators have experience of attending a detailed assessment and of the difficulties that can flow. This webinar looks at the steps that litigators should take to assist their client’s case when costs are being assessed, not just from at the assessment itself but from the outset.

It looks at what happens in a detailed assessment and what steps litigators should take from the start of the case to assessment to maximise recovery.  The solicitor’s conduct of the case will be closely examined and, on occasion, every item scrutinised in detail.

The webinar uses examples from reported cases to show where failures and omissions by the receiving party has led to their not recovering costs, or led to costs being substantially reduced.

  • What happens at a detailed assessment?
  • Where can things go wrong on assessment?
  • Why time records and attendance notes matter
  • What is the judge considering when assessing costs?
  • What is the costs judge looking at?
  • What is the costs judge looking for?
  • Strategies – from the start of a case – for keeping the costs judge happy