R v Barts Health NHS Trust: SCCO 6 Jan 2022

Senior Solicitor still proper when Counsel used

The defendant Trust argued that it had been no longer necessary to employ a senior specialist solicitor to manage a professional negligence claim once counsel had been instructed, and that the ‘baton of responsibility and importance to the claimant’ had been passed to leading and junior counsel and that the solicitors relied heavily upon the barristers’ specialist knowledge and skill to take the case forward.
Held: The argument failed. The hourly rates claimed were justified and that it was a ‘remarkable suggestion’ that costs could be downgraded because of the solicitor’s choice of external assistance: ‘I am clearly of the view that expertise was evident in the solicitors’ dealings with counsel. The papers reminded me of files seen where commercial law firms and leading and junior counsel are acting quickly in relation to injunctive proceedings with rapid return dates et cetera.
There is very much a team effort between solicitors and counsel in terms of communication with other parties, the drafting of documentation, the strategy and so on.’

Costs Judge Rowley
[2022] EWHC B3 (Costs)
England and Wales


Updated: 26 January 2022; Ref: scu.671614