In the recent case of BNM v MCG Limited the courts halved the amount of costs recoverable by the Claimant despite the fact that they had already been assessed as 'reasonable and necessary'.
Whilst this new 'post-Jackson' world of costs assessment was known to all practitioners for some time, the startling level of reduction here does bring it into sharp focus and the question that immediately jumps to mind is who is going to foot the bill - the client or her lawyers?
Stepping away from the facts of this case and into generalities, it is well rehearsed advice given by I am sure all solicitors to clients that the client is ultimately responsible for costs and they cannot rely on costs orders to fulfil those liabilities. However, I wonder if clients will see this the same if a judge deems the work done as disproportionate?
This writer for one will be double and triple checking advice given to clients about the cost/benefit of pursuing claims, and ensuring that client fully aware that the costs of pursuing a claim might be lost even if the work done was necessary to win, if in the ultimate analysis the value of that work exceeds the value of the damages awarded.
‘Reasonable’ costs bill halved under proportionality test