ProfileI am a specialist costs barrister and can assist with all situations where you are disputing your solicitor’s bill or fees or you feel that you have been overcharged by your lawyer.
Challenging solicitor’s fees is a complex area of law and there are strict timescales. I can:
- Advise you on how to challenge fees
- Help you with the court procedure
- Assist with drafting court forms and pleadings (formal court documents)
- Give advice on the likely outcome of any challenge
- Advise you on what elements of your solicitor’s bill you can challenge
I have focused on this complex area of law since qualification and have over 16 years' experience of dealing with all types of costs claims.
I was called to the bar in 2002. Prior to independent practice I was an employed barrister and partner in a City of London firm of solicitors.
The majority of solicitor and client assessments (the process by which the court determines what costs you should pay) are dealt with at the Senior Courts Costs Office in London by Costs Judges. I regularly appear at these assessments but am also experienced in dealing with matters in the county courts.
I can discuss cases with clients over the phone or by skype. If convenient I can arrange a conference at my chambers (which is opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in London).
I charge either on an hourly rate basis or by an agreed fixed fee, whichever suits the client.
My direct access clerks are Sam Morgan and Rory Nunn. They are experts at matching clients with direct access barristers and can be contacted (Freephone) on 0808 274 8106
Challenging solicitors fees must be done as soon as possible after the bill is sent to you. I can usually arrange an initial discussion within 7 days of contact.
Selected recent cases:
Vivienne Jago v Whitbread Group PLC (2016) Lawtel: Master Whalan SCCO. Acting for the paying party in an application to disallow costs under CPR r.44.11. 50% of the claimant's assessed costs disallowed due to her solicitor's improper and unreasonable conduct in the detailed assessment proceedings.
Rahimian & Anor v Allan Janes LLP  EWHC B18 (Costs): Senior Costs Judge Gordon-Saker. Solicitor and client assessment. Consideration of 'Chamberlain' bills and when the client must be in a position to consider whether to have the bills assessed.
Vlamaki v Sookias & Sookias  EWHC 3334 (QB): Mr. Justice Walker. Appeal following a solicitor and client assessment. Whether a retainer allowed the solicitors to render interim statute bills.
Johnson v Cambridge & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (2016) Master James SCCO. Appearing for the NHSLA. The approach to a bespoke Temple ATE premium where D argued that the risk element had been significantly over estimated. Premium reduced from £121,264 to £35,577.60.
French v Carter Lemon Camerons  1 Costs LO 107: Mrs. Justice Swift. Relief from sanctions following a failure to serve a statement of means in a High Court costs appeal.
AMH v Scout Association: (2015) SCCO, Master Leonard. Question of whether in a clinical negligence case the client’s decision to switch from legal aid to CFA reasonable. Judgment available here: http://tinyurl.com/zjmdnwe
Mitchell & Co v Meridian Private Plaza (2015) Companies Court. Mr. Registrar Briggs. Acting for the client who was successful in striking out the solicitor's winding up petition where there were outstanding disputes over the bills of costs rendered. Also acted in the appeal of that decision before Mr. Justice Snowden (dismissed by consent following hearing.)
R v Binning, (2014) Oxford Crown Court, HHJ Eccles QC (advice and skeleton argument by Robin Dunne, oral advocacy by Mr. Compton QC.) The Crown Court considered the circumstances in which a defendant could recover the costs of defending himself from the CPS. Judgment available here: http://tinyurl.com/jn8b925
While in-house I was involved in a number of important cases including:
Solomon v Cromwell, Oliver v Doughty  EWCA Civ 1584: The question of whether a standard basis costs order made when accepting a Part 36 offer dis-applied fixed RTA costs.
Beal v Russell (2011) Lawtel, SCCO, Senior Costs Judge Hurst: The appropriate success fee where there was Part 36 protection within the CFA and liability had been admitted prior to the CFA being signed.
Tankard v John Fredericks Plastics Ltd, Jones v Attrill  EWCA Civ 1375: Law Society’s Accident Line test case. (Decision below in Jones v Attrill available on Lawtel)
C v W  EWCA Civ 1459: The proper success fee to be allowed where the only risk was losing to a Part 36 offer.
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