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England and Wales High Court (Senior Courts Costs Office) Decisions
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Cite as:  EWHC 9034 (Costs)
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No.21 of 2002
Hulme Gary (A Firm) v Gwillim
22 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.