A Local Authority v A Mother and Child: CA 20 Dec 2000

A solicitor claimed the sum of andpound;59.00 for the cost of preparing his legal aid bill for assessment. The court had disallowed the costs of an in-house costs draftsman preparing the bill. The Costs Procedure Rules would generally allow something toward such a charge. The Court of Appeal had given leave to appeal although the amount at issue in this case was less than ten pounds.
Held: The Act specified what sums could be paid from the legal aid fund. The rules made under the Act specified a sum of andpound;71.75 toward the cost. Historically the preparation of a bill is seen as part of a solicitors overheads, and thus not claimable. This changed under the Civil Procedure Rules, and the solicitor argued that the Rules over-rode the Regulations so as to remove the limitation. However there is no new additional category by which changes under the rules have become vires. The Civil Procedure Rules go through no process of democratic control. The Rules have no power to override either legislation or subordinate legislation.
The President. Lord Justice Laws, And Lady Justice Hale
[2000] EWCA Civ 339
Civil Legal Aid (General) Regulations 1989 (SI 1989 No 339) 107, Legal Aid Act 1988 6(1), Civil Procedure Rules 2.16
England and Wales
CitedJohnson v Reed Corrugated Cases Ltd 1992
The costs principles set out in the Masters’ Practice Notes and which endorsed the dual approach of assessing and adding an element to reflect the value at stake in litigation as well as the hourly expense rate of providing that service in all . .

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Updated: 02 January 2021; Ref: scu.147372