Belfast Solicitors Association

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Guide revised by an increase of 6.18 % to take account of increases in the hourly rate and changes in procedure and further increased to take account of high value awards and settlements

 

BELFAST SOLICITORS’ ASSOCIATION

GUIDE TO HIGH COURT COSTS AS REVISED

(Applicable to actions settled after 11th January 2016)

 

Before issue of proceedings  After issue of proceedings After setting down Within 21 days of trial Opening day of trial
£0-£14,999 £2,750 £4,950 £5,125 £6,110 £7,330
£15,000-£19,999 £3,220 £5,415 £5,760 £6,880 £8,065
£20,000-£24,999 £3,855 £6,045 £6,075 £7,360 £8,540
£25,000 -£29,999 £4,025 £6,070 £6,285 £7,835 £9,020
£30,000-£34,999 £4,160 £6,375 £6,555 £8,325 £9,510
£35,000-£39,999 £4,815 £7,165 £7,515 £8,795 £9,980
£40,000- £44,999 £5,125 £7,645 £7,995 £9,275 £10,460
£45,000-£49,999 £5,410 £8,135 £8,370 £9,750 £10,935
£50,000-£54,999 £5,765 £8,610 £8,960 £10,045 £11,420
£55,000-£59,999 £6,085 £9,095 £9,445 £10,720 £11,900
£60,000 -£64,999 £6,420 £9,565 £9,920 £11,200 £12,385
£65,000-£69,999 £6,745 £10,060 £10,395 £11,680 £12,860
£70,000 -£74,999 £7,050 £10,540 £10,870 £12,160 £13,340
£75,000 -£79,99 £8,170 £11,010 £12,245 £12,640 £13,825
£80,000 -£84,999 £7,685 £11,490 £11,755 £13,125 £14,305
£85,000-£89,999 £8,015 £11,645 £12,315 £13,590 £14,775
£90,000-£94,999 £8,360 £12,490 £12,840 £14,120 £15,305
£95,000-£99,999 £8,655 £12,930 £13,275 £14,550 £15,735
£100,000 -£124,999 £11,965 £17,540 £18,250 £19,735 £21,115
£125,000 -£149,999 £13,850 £20,630 £21,035 £22,520 £23,895
£150,000 – £174,000 £15,740 £23,415 £23,820 £25,300 £26,560
£175,000 -£199,999 £17,580 £26,200 £26,600 £28,088 £29,345
£200,000 -£224,999 £19,515 £28,980 £29,385 £30,865 £32,250
£225,000 – £249,999 £23,130 £31,765 £32,165 £33,650 £35,030

£250,000-                     £29,220             £39,997              £42,980            £44,960              £47,210
£499,999

 

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The Guide was last revised in January 2006 to take account of an increase by the former Taxing Master, the late Master Napier, of the hourly rate payable on a standard basis taxation[1] from £78.00 per hour to £85.00 per hour for work after 1st April 2005. Since then the present Master, Master Bailie, has further increased the hourly rate on two occasions: from £85.00 per hour to £94.00 per hour for work done after 1st April 2008 and to £97.00 for work after 6th April 2009.This is an increase of £12.00 or 14.11 % over the hourly rate of £85.00 payable when the Guide was last revised. In order to maintain parity with what will now be allowed on taxation therefore the Committee has decided to increase the various amounts recommended by the Guide by 14.11%. The table set out above incorporates that increase.

 

The Committee understands that the increase of 14.11% has been accepted by the Law Society as a temporary rate only until such time as the Society has carried out a survey into the overheads of running a solicitor’s practice from which it can calculate a more permanent rate which will more accurately reflect the costs of practice in Northern Ireland.

 

As awards and settlements in excess of £100,000 are now more common, the Committee has also decided to increase the guidance given by the Guide to settlements and awards of up to £250,000.

 

The Guide has also been restructured to more accurately reflect the divisions of work required from a solicitor by changes in High Court procedure such as the Pre-Action Protocol.

 

This guide is intended to apply to personal injury actions settled after 1st May 2009 and it is not recommended that the Guide should apply to the following categories of cases:

 

*     Professional Negligence.                        *     Assault Actions against the Crown.

*     Medical Negligence.                                 *     Industrial Disease Actions.

*     Commercial Litigation and Chancery.     *     Defamation

 

The BSA recommends to all practitioners that the above guide is fair and reasonable in the majority

of personal injury actions.

 

Solicitors are advised that, even in the majority of ordinary cases, the appropriate point recommended by the Guide should be increased in the following situations:

 

  1. In cases of industrial disease, particularly “chest” cases, the appropriate figure on the Guide should be increased by 10%.

 

2.   An extra £220.00 (to reflect an additional 1½ hour’s work, which is the average time spent) should be added for each of the following:

(a) Interlocutory applications. If applications become complicated and lead to matters   such as a remittal appeals in the High Court, the BSA recommends that time is recorded   and that extra costs are added to the guide to reflect time spent.

(b) Review hearings before a Judge or Master.

(c) Completion of Certificate of Readiness and County Court Appeal Questionnaires.

 

3.       Multiple Defendants

 

If there is more than one Defendant at Defence stage and each Defendant is being           separately represented, we recommend that for the first additional Defendant an extra 20% be added to the appropriate point on the Guide and for every additional Defendant thereafter a further 10%. This is to reflect the payment for additional time.

 

4.    If the case runs to trial, we are informed that the Taxing Master will normally allow an average of £825.00 for each additional day of Trial and £660.00 for each half day for an ordinary case. Again this figure should be added to the appropriate point on the Guide.

 

  1. The attention of members is drawn to the guidelines given by Lord Justice Carswell, as he then was, in Antoinette Carr –v- Margaret Poots [1995] NI 428 as to the proper approach to be taken in a case which is compromised for significantly less than its potential. His Lordship held that in such circumstances the “worth” of a case was neither the knockdown value of the settlement nor its full potential. His judgment supports an approach that an amount halfway between the settlement and the potential of the case should be taken as the point on the Guide for the appropriate costs.

 

6         The Guide is intended for use in settlements or awards up to £250,000.00 and members are advised to try and negotiate an individual amount for costs in high value settlements. Should members wish to use the Guide as the basis of calculating costs in such cases the Committee suggests that the amounts in the final band of the Table be increased for each additional £25,000.00 as follows:

 

  • Before issue of            £2,250 for each additional £25,000.00 up to £1 million and

proceedings:                £1,125 for each £25,000.00 thereafter.

 

  • After issue of proceedings      : £2,250 for each additional £25,000.00 up to £1 million and £1,125 for each £25,000.00 thereafter.

 

  • After setting down:    £2,250 for each additional £25,000.00 up to £1 million and £1,125 for each £25,000.00 thereafter.

 

  • Within 21 days of trial: £2,250 for each additional £25,000.00 up to £1 million and £1,125 for each £25,000.00 thereafter.

 

  • Opening day of trial:£2,250 for each additional £25,000.00 up to £1 million and £1,125 for each £25,000.00 thereafter.

 

7        In cases where liability is admitted at or before the service of the Defence, a 10% reduction should be allowed.

 

8   If a case is settled on the opening day of trial before 1.00 pm, the amounts in the final column should be abated by £200.

 

 

 

Whilst the Guide has been arrived at after much consideration of various arguments and with the assistance of a very experienced costs drawer, we believe that all practitioners need to educate themselves in relation to costs. The fact of the matter is that those Solicitors whose time is recorded are in a position to achieve higher costs.

 

[1] The amount of costs payable to a successful litigant is the amount assessed on a standard basis taxation: RSC Order 62 Rule 3(4)