Truscott v Truscott; Wraith v Sheffield Forgemasters Ltd: CA 31 Jul 1997

Mr Truscott (T), from Tunbridge Wells instructed local solicitors in county court proceedings about a maintenance payment order involving his ex-wife. Dissatisfied with his local solicitors he instructed a small firm of solicitors in central London. On an appeal from the district judge, the county court judge held that T should not have used London solicitors.
Mr Wraith (W) was injured at work. His trades union advised him to select their London solicitors. The case began in London but was transferred with his consent to Sheffiled. At first instance Potter J had upheld the decision to allow London rates.
Held: In T, the county court judge had simply compared local and London rates, whereas he should have asked whether it was reasonable for T to instruct London solicitors, taking into account relevant considerations. Relevant factors when considering the reasonableness of T’s decision were (1) the importance of the matter to him (2) the legal and factual complexities, in so far as he might reasonably be expected to understand them (3) the location of his home, his place of work and the location of the court in which the relevant proceedings had been commenced (4) T’s possibly well-founded dissatisfaction with the solicitors he had originally instructed, which may well have resulted in a natural desire to instruct solicitors further afield (5) the fact that he had sought advice as to whom to consult and had been recommended the London solicitors (6) their location including their accessibility to him, and their readiness to attend at the relevant court and (7) what, if anything, he might reasonably be expected to know of the fees they would likely charge, as compared with the fees of other solicitors whom he might reasonably be expected to have considered . . If the county court judge had considered these matters Kennedy LJ held that he would obviously have concluded that it was reasonable to instruct the London solicitors.

Kennedy, Waite, Auld LJJ
Times 15-Oct-1997, [1998] 1 WLR 132, [1997] EWCA Civ 2285, [1998] 1 All ER 82, [1997] 2 Costs LR 74
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromWraith v Sheffield Forgemasters Ltd QBD 20-Feb-1996
The choice of an expensive solicitor to conduct a case may be justified in several ways. . .

Cited by:
CitedRoyal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust v Acres QBD 22-Mar-2013
The defendant challenged the use by the claimant of solicitors from Central London in her claim for personal injury. She was a radiographer, and her work involved exposure to dangerous materials, though in this case it arose from use of machinery . .

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Updated: 23 April 2021; Ref: scu.89999