15th Mar 2018
Christopher Loxton (instructed by Kennedys Law LLP) for the Defendant
RULING ON COSTS
Mr Justice Foskett:
It is not disputed that the Appellant should have the costs of the appeal to be assessed on the standard basis if not agreed.
As to the costs of the hearing before Judge Simpkiss, it is accepted by the Respondent that the Appellant should have the costs of the hearing, but it is suggested that the Respondent should only be liable for one-half of the costs of preparing for the hearing because it is said that it was only shortly before the telephone hearing with the Judge that the Appellant agreed with the Respondent’s interest calculations. It is suggested that the preparations for the hearing were equally focused on the issues of interest and costs.
I have not had any response to that matter on behalf of the Appellant, but it seems to me that the substantive issue before the Judge was the issue of costs and I do not really see that I should deprive her of any part of her costs simply because the issue of interest had not previously been resolved.
The more significant issue is that of an interim payment on account of the costs to which the Claimant is now entitled following my decision on the appeal. She seeks £70,000. The Defendant suggests in the region of £26,500.
I agree with Mr Loxton that the Claimant’s costs up to the joint settlement meeting on 2 February 2017 (approximately £110,000) appear to be high in relation to the amount of the award and are nearly double what appeared in her costs budget served with the directions questionnaire (approximately £61,000). Those factors may operate to reduce what is recovered following assessment.
What I propose to do is to award an interim payment by reference to an overall sum half way between the sum in the costs budget and the present figure, namely, £85,500. From that sum must be deducted the amount of the costs of the Respondent for the trial, said to be in the region of £10,000. In other words, the sum by reference to which the interim payment will be calculated is £75,500. I propose to award two-thirds of that sum which, rounded down, yields a figure of £50,000.
Accordingly, I will award the Claimant an interim payment on account of costs of £50,000.
Mr Loxton asks for 28 days for this payment. I do not see why the payment should not be made in the ordinary way, namely, within 14 days of the date when the order giving effect to this decision is sealed.