- In brief: Costs Judge was wrong to allow a solicitor to charge £300k more than an estimate (Harrison v Eversheds LLP)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was this case about?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: Alex Bagnall, associate at Just Costs Solicitors, considers the case Harrison v Eversheds LLP. A client was provided with four costs estimates during the litigation by his solicitors. At the assessment hearing, the client’s argument that he relied on the initial estimate and would have conducted the case differently had it been more accurate was accepted. The Master concluded the starting point as to what was reasonable to charge was the second estimate and, having regard to the increase in the opponent’s costs budget, he capped the solicitors’ fees. The Master concluded that Counsel’s fees should not be affected by the estimates. On appeal, Slade J held that the Master was correct to treat the second estimate as the starting point, but that the approach to limiting the solicitors’ costs was wrong in principle and the calculations flawed in any event. That issue was remitted to the Master. The Master’s decision to disregard the estimates when assessing Counsel’s fees was held to be wrong and the assessment of Counsel’s fees was set aside.
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