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England and Wales High Court (Technology and Construction Court) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Technology and Construction Court) Decisions >> GSK Project Management Ltd v QPR Holdings Ltd  EWHC 2274 (TCC) (29 July 2015)
Cite as:  EWHC 2274 (TCC),  4 Costs LR 729,  BLR 715,  TCLR 9
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
TECHNOLOGY AND CONSTRUCTION COURT
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| GSK PROJECT MANAGEMENT LIMITED
|- and -
QPR HOLDINGS LIMITED
Mr Andrew Fenn (instructed by Macfarlanes LLP) for the Defendant
Hearing dates: 24 July 2015
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Stuart-Smith :
The Claimant's Cost Budget
|Item||Incurred disbursements||Incurred time costs||Estimated disbursements||Estimated time costs||Total|
|Litigation Support (the QS)||140|
*Rate change during litigation
The Principles to be Applied
i) The Proportionality of the Claimant's Costs Budget [37-45];
ii) The Reasonableness of the Claimant's Costs Budget [46-82];
iii) Summary of Options [83-95];
iv) Conclusions on the Available Options [96-98].
I shall follow his lead.
The Proportionality of the Claimant's Costs Budget
The Reasonableness of the Claimant's Costs Budget
Issue / Statements of Case
i) 96 hours for the partner;
ii) 429 hours for the associate solicitor;
iii) 162.5 hours (£48,750 at £300 per hour) for counsel. This estimate may be marginally out as two other counsel were paid £2,250 between them in June 2014, and the Court does not know their hourly rates;
iv) 579 hours (£81,136 at £140 per hour) for the QS.
i) £3,504 (25 hours) for the period 1-28 February 2015;
ii) £1,120 (8 hours) for the period 1 March to 30 April 2015;
iii) £2,379 (17 hours) for the period 1 May to 31 May 2014; and
iv) £3,208 (23 hours) for the period 1 June to 15 June 2015.
|Date||Work done||Fee £||Hours at £300 ph|
|26.09.14||Advising in Conference & Particulars of Claim||12,000||40|
|20.02.15||Advising in Conference & Replies to Request for Information||11,400||38|
|31.03.15||Advising in conference by telephone||600||2|
|15.04.15||Drafting Request for Information||6,600||22|
|Advising in conference on the telephone||600||2|
|21.05.15||Advising in conference||1,800||6|
|08.06.15||Advising in con, drafting Reply Defence to CC and application||9,900||33|
|25.06.15||Advising in conference on the telephone||600||2|
i) 20.2 hours for the partner
ii) 42.5 hours (incurred and estimated) for the associate;
iii) £6,000 (equivalent to 20 hours at £300 per hour) for Counsel.
i) 215 hours of associate's time;
ii) 55 hours of partner's time;
iii) 20 hours of counsel's time; and
iv) 67 hours of the QS's time.
i) £80,000 for the experts;
ii) 4.2 hours of incurred costs and 75 hours for estimated costs for associate's time'
iii) 4.4 hours of incurred costs and 25 hours of estimated costs for partner's time;
iv) 2 hours of incurred costs and 30 hours of estimated costs for counsel;
v) Just under 4 hours for the QS.
i) 35 hours of associate's time;
ii) 22 hours of partner's time;
iii) 6 hours of trainee's time;
iv) 17 hours of counsel's time;
v) £1,540 for other disbursements, which appear to be mainly travel and hotels for three solicitors.
i) 105 hours of associate's time (£21,000);
ii) 34 hours of partner's time (£10,200);
iii) 85 hours of trainee solicitor's time (£9,775);
iv) 16 hours of costs lawyer's time (£2,400);
v) £15,000 for experts;
vi) £4,500 for counsel;
vii) £5,300 for other disbursements.
i) I accept that it would be appropriate for a trainee solicitor to work on preparing the trial bundles with assistance from an associate. There are no signs that this will be a document heavy case – nor could it be if it is to be disposed of in 4 days. If the solicitors have acted competently up until this stage, it is not obvious why preparing the trial bundles should take more than a week (say 40 hours for a trainee with 5 hours for the associate);
ii) Drafting the brief to counsel will not require a full-blown old-fashioned brief setting out the issues, identifying the material evidence and stating instructing solicitors' views, because both solicitors and counsel will by this stage know the case inside out;
iii) The statement of costs will presumably be prepared by the costs lawyer with minimal input from the main fee earners;
iv) There may be a need for a final conference with counsel and experts. It is not clear what is intended to be achieved by a conference with lay witnesses unless they are the lawyers' effective clients. In any event, there can be no justification for a conference lasting more than a day, and it seems inherently unlikely that at this stage of the proceedings the associate and partner would spend more than a day each in preparation for the conference.
i) 15 hours of partner's time (£4,500);
ii) 25 hours of associate's time (£5,000);
iii) 50 hours of trainee's time (£5,750);
iv) £2,400 for the costs lawyer;
v) £10,000 for experts;
vi) £4,500 for counsel (but see below);
vii) £5,000 for miscellaneous disbursements.
i) 45 hours of associate's time (£9,000);
ii) 45 hours of partner's time (£13,500);
iii) 45 hours of trainee's time (£5,175);
iv) £25,000 for experts;
v) £38,800 for counsel;
vi) £6,050 for miscellaneous disbursements.
|Item||Claimant's estimate||Sum approved||Sum approved as % of Claimant's Estimate|
|Issue/Ss of C||266,908||115,000||43|
Summary of Options
i) Option 1A: Ordering a new budget;
ii) Option 1B: Declining to approve the claimant's costs budget;
iii) Option 2: Setting budget figures;
iv) Option 3: Refusing to allow any further costs.
i) In relation to pre-action costs I conclude that on assessment these should not exceed £13,500 on the same basis as set out in [97(a)] of CIP Properties;
ii) In relation to the Statement of Case, I conclude that on assessment incurred costs should not exceed £115,000 on the same basis as set out in [97(a)] of CIP Properties. The sum approved for estimated costs and disbursements is nil.
iii) In relation to CMC, I conclude that on assessment incurred costs should not exceed £4,500 on the same basis as set out in [97(a)] of CIP Properties. I take that figure into account when assessing estimated cost and approve estimated costs in the sum of £10,500.
iv) In relation to disclosure, the sum of £29,522 is approved as drawn;
v) In relation to Witness Statements I approve the sum of £25,100 for prospective costs;
vi) In relation to Expert Reports, I take into account the sum of £2,650 incurred costs and approve the prospective costs in the sum of £82,350.
vii) In relation to PTR, I approve the prospective costs in the maximum sum of £12,000;
viii) In relation to Trial Preparation I approve the prospective costs in the maximum sum of £37,500;
ix) In relation to Trial, I approve the prospective costs in the maximum sum of £65,000;
x) In relation to Settlement / ADR / Mediation combined I take into account the incurred costs of £6,370 in approving prospective costs in the maximum sum of £18,630;
xi) I allow a general contingency for prospective costs in the sum of £2,378.
"44. It is therefore time to say, in the clearest terms, that parties and their solicitors can no longer conduct litigation in a manner which does not keep the proportionality of the costs being incurred at the forefront of their minds at all times.
45. It is no longer acceptable – if it ever was – for the parties to pursue issues or applications that have no real impact on the issues that are central to the dispute. Further, it is no longer acceptable for solicitors to carry on a war of attrition by correspondence, whether instructed to do so or not; it is the parties who are the subject of the duty in CPR 1.3, not merely their solicitors.
47. Whilst English law is an adversarial process, that goes to the issues in the case: not to every aspect of the procedure. Parties to litigation, in the TCC at least, are expected to conduct that litigation in the manner that is most expedition and economical. Bringing the right issues to trial in the most economical fashion, and taking steps to ensure that the costs are kept at a level that is proportionate to what is at stake, is to be at the heart of the process.
48. Unreasonableness, intransigence and the taking of every point must in my view now be regarded as unacceptable, because conducting litigation in that way flies in the face of the overriding objective as it is now formulated. These habits must disappear from the landscape of litigation in the TCC. If they do not, offending litigants must expect to bear the costs.
49. If access to justice is to have any real meaning, then the aim of keeping costs to the reasonable minimum must become paramount. Procedural squabbles must be banished and a culture of co-operative conduct introduced in their place. This will not prevent contentious issues from being tried fairly: on the contrary it should promote it."