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Extreme costs

Extreme costs

Postby Monkeybusiness » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:46 am

Hi,
Facing a costs dispute. But think the defendants costs are extreme.

Background.
The case is said to be complicated, although I do not find it so and managed to produce my own P o C that did not get stricken out by the defendants i.e on no merit to the case as they are now claiming. Shortly after issuing my claim and before the CMC I got a solicitor and latterly a CFA. Barristers opinion 60/40% in my favour.
The defendant is a millionaire and I had modest savings.
I attended the CMC and thus had insight into the future costs and how things were going, and realised that what ever I did I could not beat the defendant because he had money, would run up costs and be obstructive where possible. I knew even if I won he would appeal. I approached the defendant to discontinue on a drop hand agreement, and although knowing that he would not accept this, it was a first step in negotiation to discontinue (I thought). This offer was ignored until we pushed for an answer.

Most reasonable people I would expect would not have accepted the drop hand offer but make a counter offer in regard to costs. He did not, he wanted the case to continue to cause me maximum pain, and he had a motive to get to the final hearing which would have sorted out co-owned properties that was driving him nuts. He refused all mediation that may have resolved everything.
My unexpected offer to discontinue came as a total surprise to him. We are now still stuck with co-owned properties.

I was left with no choice but to discontinue without agreement, and offered to pay 22,000, before I even knew what his costs were. This was refused within 24 hours.

The costs bit.
My costs are about 13,000 his now alleged costs are 29,500.
My question is can someone generate legitimate costs of 29,500 getting up to and past a CMC, disclosure of list of documents, plus a couple of months of he said she said
negotiations, plus the fact both parties then stayed any other court directions.

You may wonder why I am asking this forum that question. when I have a solicitor. The fact is since I asked him to discontinue he has been more than obstructive and has tried to get me to sack him on 2 occasions. But at this stage it is not worth finding another solicitor to make the costs offers. I do not have the money for a costs hearing hence the high offer of 22,000 to settle matters early. Sorry this brings to mind another question. My solicitor said that it could take 9 months to get a costs hearing is that correct.
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Re: Extreme costs

Postby atticus » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:55 am

It will all depend on the work done, whether that is work that you should properly pay for, and whether the rates charged are proper. The figure mentioned is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

You can require the court to assess the costs. You may end up paying the costs of the assessment.

Check whether your CFA covers assessment of costs against you. That seems unlikely to me. Why should your solicitor assist when he is not being paid and there is no prospect of being paid?

Often when taking out a CFA, the claimant is advised to take out insurance against costs. Did you not obtain such insurance?

It sounds as if you have ended up in a mess through picking a fight without seeing it through, landing yourself with a costs bill and still not resolving the problem you went to court over. I predict you will end up handing over some or all of your interest in the jointly owned property in settlement.
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Re: Extreme costs

Postby Monkeybusiness » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:46 am

Thanks Atticus.
Yes you are right I am in a mess without seeing it through. The 22,000 was rejected. The other side say my case was without merit although I have a barristers opinion 60/40% in my favour. Their costs include a witness statement prepared and served £4,000 with there defence reply to my PoC in May. That is served before the CMC which requested witness statements January 2018.
Their costs include £1000 for ADR allegedly, (which would mean a financial settlement to me) after I had started negotiations for discontinuance on a drop hand basis, which they only responded to with prompting but not with a counter offer, or my costs are....... but a flat refusal.
I am in the process of offering 80% of the costs. I do not want to stress of a assessment, I had to give up my claim because of family circumstances and my health.
If they reject my offer, do they request a costs hearing.
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Re: Extreme costs

Postby atticus » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:48 am

Yes. They have that option.

80% seems a sensible offer. Fingers crossed for you.
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Re: Extreme costs

Postby Monkeybusiness » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:41 am

I am of the mind the offer should be an open offer, and also commenting about their costs and about the fact it was not a meritless case as they claim. Barristers opinion in my favour etc.
If it goes to a costs hearing if that was sitting in front of the judge I believe it could act in my favour. ?
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Re: Extreme costs

Postby atticus » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:01 pm

The merits of the case are irrelevant. You dropped it. That means you pay the other party's costs.
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Re: Extreme costs

Postby Monkeybusiness » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:43 am

And my solicitor told me non of that 2 months ago when I could have just about paid about everybody out and he kept delaying and refusing to discontinue,
He made me over the period sign three notices of discontinuance(which he didn't use) and then said he was to busy until next week and I should of it myself and cc him in. I couldn't cc him in because I didn't know how to do it so I was forced to physically go to the court and hand in paper. Then all shit broke lose.

Going backing to your post ......surely reasonable costs and who decides?

I signed a letter 16 October to my sol to discontinue (even though he had written authority i.e email) and was forced to do it myself early in December in between there were 2 other signed authorities which he kept stringing me along. I can't, sleep eat or really function. It is not the' case', That has caused that, I had the money to discontinue when I wanted to but because of the solicitor who "fancied" the cases he would not let me go. He said I would regret it if I discontinued (that's October) and I was of begging a junior member of the firm to make sure he discontinued December.. I was in tears and pleading for the notice to be sent in to the court.

Non of this is right.....
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Re: Extreme costs

Postby Monkeybusiness » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:19 am

Going back to your last post that merits of the case are irrelevant, why did they respond to the offer of 22,000 with highlighting the case Hasley v Milton Keyns NHS
if costs are costs. My case would have never have been issued had the defendant have responded to any and all letters. I had no option to be heard but to issue proceedings.
Perhaps you could at this point also give me guidance to the phrase proportionality as it occurs in the CPR rules.
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Re: Extreme costs

Postby atticus » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:51 am

I am going to suggest that you go back to these solicitors. Ask to be advised by someone more experienced. Agree a fee that you will pay.

I say this as they know the case, have seen the case papers etc.
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Re: Extreme costs

Postby atticus » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:06 am

It is common for CFAs to provide that if the Claimant drops the case against advice, he will pay his lawyers' fees.
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