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COSTS: Keep it in proportion

28 September 2017  

Gwendoline Davies and Claire Acklam make sense of the rules and recent case law on proportionality of costs

Proportionality. Since the introduction of Jackson LJ’s sweeping reforms to civil litigation procedure in England and Wales in 2013, this word has had a fundamental impact on the level of legal costs a successful party can recover from its opponent at the conclusion of a case, and consequently on a party’s decision whether to litigate at all. No party wishes to incur unreasonable and disproportionate costs, but there is often a disconnect between costs reasonably and necessarily incurred in the context of the litigation, and costs which the court may consider to be proportionate. While the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) provide rules and guidance which go so far, there is currently no prescriptive method for ascertaining proportionality of costs and the approach taken by the judiciary varies on a case-by-case basis. In this article we shall examine the key case law on proportionality of costs and ask whether any key themes can be identified to assist those involved in, or considering, litigation.

Additional Info

  • Case(s) Referenced:

    BNM v MGN Ltd [2016] EWHC B13 (Costs)

    Bloomberg LP v Sandberg & ors [2016] EWHC 488 (TCC)

    Gotch & anor v Enelco Ltd [2015] EWHC 1802 (TCC)

    Group Seven Ltd & anor v Nasir & ors [2016] EWHC 620 (Ch)

    Harrison v University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust [2017] EWCA Civ 792

    JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank & anor v Pugachev & ors [2017] EWHC 1853 (Ch)

    Marks and Spencer plc v Asda Stores Ltd [2016] EWHC 2081 (Pat)

    May v Wavell Group plc [2016] EWHC B16 (Costs)