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MASTERCIGARS DIRECT LTD v WITHERS LLP

A costs judge determining how to reflect a client's reliance on a costs estimate in the detailed assessment of a bill of costs gave inadequate reasons for selecting a 20 per cent margin over the estimate as a limit on the profit costs recoverable.

14 April 2009

The appellant solicitors (W) appealed against decisions of the costs judge as to how a costs estimate should be reflected in the detailed assessment of two bills of costs. W had acted for the respondent (M) in a trade mark action. M disputed the amount of W's bills and an order had been made for a detailed assessment of 14 bills of costs rendered by W. In relation to two of those bills there was a dispute as to the effect of a costs estimate provided by W to M. M's case was that it had relied on W's estimate and that the fact of reliance should have an important bearing on the sum ultimately recovered by W in respect of the period of time covered by the estimate. W served a statement of reasons for the differences between the figures in the estimate and the figures in the two bills. The costs judge concluded that he should reflect the costs estimate in the detailed assessment of the two bills, for the relevant period, by limiting the profit costs chargeable by W to the amount in the...

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