In the November 2006 eBulletin, we looked at how it may be possible to keep the costs of litigation down. Litigation can be expensive and we try and provide regular costs estimates and information throughout so that the final amount payable does not vary too much from estimates given.

Unfortunately not all firms are as diligent in providing costs information, as the case of Mastercigars Direct Limited v Withers LLP shows. In that case, Withers provided a costs estimate in May 2005 of £356,000. Following the trial, they presented their client with 21 bills totalling more than £1 million. The costs judge held that Withers were largely to be bound by their estimate. The failure to warn the client that the costs were escalating well above their estimate was a clear breach of the codes of practice.