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Higgs v Camden and Islington HA, Queens Bench Division, 16 January 2003

29 January 2003
The issues

Costs – complex claim.

The facts

The Claimant pursued a clinical negligence claim against the Defendant, in which over 3.5 million was recovered. The issue came before Costs Judge Roger on Detailed Assessment of Claimant’s costs. The Costs Judge held that the hourly rate of £300.00 per hour for the Claimant’s Solicitor was reasonable; that there had been properly supervised delegation from a Senior Partner to an Assistant Solicitor; and that it was reasonable for the Partner in charge of the case, apart from that delegation to have done the majority of the work. The paying party argued that the hourly rate for the Solicitor was excessive; that the rate was excessive in comparison with comparable cases; and that the hourly rate should have reflected the fact that there was supervisory work involved.

The decision

1. The claim was a complex and valuable claim and it was reasonable for the Senior Partner to have done most of the work. Where that work had been done, it had been done more effectively and quickly than if it had been delegated.

2. Although the rates were high they were within the discretion of the Costs Judge.

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