Whether costs judge could consider if individual items of costs are proportionate under the old rules


Before the changes in the rules in 2013 the starting point for assessing costs on a standard basis was that the court would only allow costs proportionate to the matters in issue and would resolve doubts as to whether costs were reasonably incurred or reasonable and proportionate in amount in favour of the paying party. For cases started on or after 1 April 2013, costs judges will now look not only at individual elements of a bill but also at the global total (which can be reduced even if each item is reasonable, if the global figure is not proportionate).

This case concerned the rules before they changed in 2013 and, in particular, whether a costs judge is entitled to consider if individual items of costs claimed are proportionate and necessary, even if the overall costs are proportionate. Following a review of prior caselaw, Cranston J held that a costs judge could consider individual items.