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Harris v Taunton Deane Borough Council, Taunton County Court, 4 June 2003

12 June 2003
The issues

Costs – Proportionality – CCFA – Collective Conditional Fee Agreement – Insurance Premium – ATE Premium – Success fee.

The facts

The Claimant claimed damages in respect of an accident at work on the 22nd June 1999. A letter of claim was sent on the 6th June 2000. On the 14th August 2000, liability was admitted, the Defendant reserving its right to raise contributory negligence and causation. On the 1st December 2000, the Claimant’s Solicitors served notice that the matter was funded by a CCFA including an additional liability for both success fee of 70% and ATE Insurance Premium of £840.00. Proceedings were issued. A Part 36 Payment was made by the Defendant in the sum of £8,500.00 on the 27th September 2002. It was accepted. Medical evidence was by means of an agreed expert who produced two reports. A Bill of Costs was served totalling £10,073.61.

The decision

1. The Claimant was put to his election as to whether or not to disclose the CCFA, following the decision in the Hollins v Russell/CFA Test Cases. There was no distinction for these purposes between a CFA and a CCFA. If a CFA ought ordinarily to be produced, so equally should a CCFA.

2. The Bill was not disproportionate.

3. The “home Court” in terms of convenience should have been Taunton, but Bristol rates would be allowed on the basis that the distance between the Claimant’s home in Taunton and Bristol was not particularly great and that it was reasonable for Bristol Solicitors to be instructed. The Claimant’s travel time and expenses would be disallowed however.

4. The work was claimed at Grade A and Grade B rates. The claim was not complex and it was appropriate for it to have been carried out by a Grade C Fee Earner. Grade C rates allowed.

5. The premium claimed was excessive and would be reduced to £525.00.

6. The success fee was too great and would be reduced to 25%.

7. Subject to the Claimant disclosing its CCFA by 18th June, costs would be allowed in the sum of £5,916.06. The Defendant, having made an offer of £6,500.00, would receive the costs of the Detailed Assessment, such costs being assessed in the sum of £1,123.60.

Comments

For further information please contact mariemacfarlane@vpinsurance.net or John Allen at lcjdallen943@aol.com.

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