Unreasonable and Improper Conduct – Solicitor Remains Responsible for the Detailed Assessment Process

Gempride Ltd -v Bamrah [2018] EWCA Civ 1367

The Court of Appeal handed down a ruling on the conduct of detailed assessment proceedings, which one of the lawyers involved described as a ‘watershed’ moment.

The Claimant (who was a personal injury solicitor herself) tripped over a doorstep while visiting a client.  The Claimant’s own firm of solicitors acted for her in the litigation.  A bill of costs was subsequently drawn and certified by the solicitor.  It was found that the bill of costs was claiming rates in excess of those that had been agreed in the funding documentation.  In the Replies to the Points of Dispute, the Claimant averred that there was no BTE Insurance available, however it was found there was in fact BTE available.

The Court of Appeal ruled that even though the Claimant was not found to be acting dishonestly, the conduct was regarded as something more than an honest mistake.  The salient point of this judgment was that the authorised persons certifying the bill of costs has ultimate responsibility for the acts and omissions of those to whom they delegate parts of the conduct of litigation.  Consequently, the Court disallowed half of the profit costs within Part 1 of the bill.

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