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England and Wales High Court (Senior Courts Costs Office) Decisions

You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Senior Courts Costs Office) Decisions >> Ralph Hulme Gary (A Firm) v Gwillim [2002] EWHC 9034 (Costs) (22 October 2002)
Cite as: [2002] EWHC 9034 (Costs)

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This summary of a judgment has been obtained from the Supreme Court Costs Office pages on the HM Courts Service web site. The citation used by BAILII is not an officially approved citation. The full text of the judgment may have an official Neutral Citation issued by the court, and may be available elsewhere on BAILII.



No.21 of 2002

Ralph Hulme Gary (A Firm) v Gwillim
October 2002
The Court of Appeal, Ward and Mance LJJ and Sir Martin Nourse

In this extremely important case relating to costs under the Solicitors Act 1974 the lead judgment was delivered by Lord Justice Ward who examined the cases over the last several centuries and concluded that these cases indicated that for a solicitor's bill to be enforceable against his client had to contain sufficient detailed information for the recipient to be able to judge whether or not to seek to test it by the assessment procedure. However the court said that in arriving at the decision as to whether or not that was the position in any one case the court could take into account the detailed knowledge of the client himself.

The facts were that the defendant had been involved in a solicitors partnership dispute and instructed the claimants in connection therewith. Although the bills which they rendered to him were in very abbreviated form he was well aware of the work which was being carried out, and accordingly his last minute attempt to have the bills declared unenforceable failed in the Court of Appeal, as it had before the Judge.

At the end of his lengthy and very learned judgment Lord Justice Ward suggested that problems of this nature could in future be avoided, if, as a matter of course, solicitors annexed to their bills sufficient computer print-out material as would satisfy a defendant concerning the work done for which the bill was delivered.

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