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Flower 1 - 800 Flowers INC v Phone Names Limited

16 July 2001
The issues

Costs – Summary Assessment

The facts

The case involved a trademark dispute. Mr Justice Jacob summarily assessed phone names costs under Part 43 of the Civil Procedure Rules at £10,000.00. One – 800 Flowers Inc appealed.

The decision

1. When similarly assessing costs the Court should look at the detailed breakdown of costs actually incurred by the party in question and it should carry out its assessment by reference to the items appearing there.

2. In doing so the Court might find it helpful to rely on its experience of summary assessment of costs in comparable cases.

3. In assessing the costs on that basis the Court might also find it helpful to look at the total sum at which it is arrived in order to see whether that sum fell in the bounds of what was reasonable and proportionate.

4. If the Court considered the total sum to be unreasonable or disproportionate, it might want to look again at the detailed items to see what further reduction should be made. What was not permissible was for the Judge, having concluded that the total of the detailed items was too high, to apply his own “tariff” derived from another case with which he had dealt. This was the wrong approach. However broad the brush used by the Court the assessment must be directed upon the actual breakdown of costs contained in the receiving party’s statement.

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