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Ryder v Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Bristol County Court, 14 May 2004

27 May 2004
The issues

Costs – Detailed Assessment – Success Fee – Risk Assessment Not Disclosed

The facts

Claimant brought an action for personal injuries against the Defendant. The claim was compromised. An Order was made by consent that the Claimant’s costs be paid by the Defendant. The Claimant’s Bill of Costs included a claim for a success fee claimed at 80%. The CCFA had been signed in December 2001.

A risk assessment had been disclosed in the Detailed Assessment proceedings and was dated 17th February 2003. At Detailed Assessment a further risk assessment was produced dated 14th May 2002. The Defendant submitted that the earlier risk assessment was not the risk assessment that should be relied upon and that the second risk assessment having been signed in February 2003 should only be allowed to operate in respect of profit costs incurred from that date.

The Defendant had admitted liability on 4th December 2002. The Defendant submitted that the success fee should be reduced to 10% from that date.

The decision

1. The earlier risk assessment was not evidenced by any entry in the Claimant’s solicitors file on or around 14th May stating that a risk assessment had taken place. Accordingly the risk assessment dated 17th February was the one on which she would base her decision.

2. Accordingly the Defendants submissions would be accepted and the success fee would be allowed only from the 17th February 2003.

3. Moreover, since by that date there was neither issue as to liability nor causation the success fee would be reduced to 10%.

The Claimant’s costs were therefore reduced from £6,577.08 to £2,914.69. This figure was lower than a Part 47 Offer and accordingly an Order was made for Defendant’s costs.

Comments

For further information please contact John Allen at lcjdallen943@aol.com or Marie Macfarlane at mariemacfarlane@veitchpenny.co.uk.

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