Costs Judge orders solicitor Andrew Milne to pay David Price's costs under CFA
In a judgment made available today, Master Seager Berry has held that solicitor Andrew Milne is liable on the bill of his former solicitors, David Price Solicitors & Advocates, who acted for him under a CFA in the detailed assessment of his costs of a libel action brought some years ago against the Sunday Telegraph.
In an 18-page ruling, the Costs Judge held that Mr Milne had expressly agreed to be liable for the basic costs of his solicitors when instructing them to settle the costs assessment proceedings for a sum less than the newspaper’s Calderbank offer. The fact that the result did not amount to a ‘win’ as defined by the CFA did not mean that the case had been ‘lost’.
He also rejected Mr Milne’s allegations of professional negligence against the firm and any suggestion that he had been forced thereby to settle at a lower sum than he wished.
The bill will now go to a detailed assessment. By consent Mr Milne was ordered to pay DPSA’s costs of the hearing in the sum of £8,500. The bill itself was for £4,600.
The judgment is particularly noteworthy for its recognition of a CFA as a joint venture between lawyer and client which may only be terminated prematurely by the client (by settlement or otherwise) on certain terms, which will usually include that the client pays at least the solicitor’s basic charges.
5RB‘s Justin Rushbrooke represented David Price Solicitors & Advocates.
For the full judgment and the 5RB case report, click here.