15th June 2017
Regional Costs Judge Phillips handed down Judgment today in respect of 4 preliminary issues that arose for determination in a solicitor-client costs dispute. Sian Reeves was instructed by the successful firm of solicitors.
The preliminary issues that arose for determination were:
(1) Whether the interim bills issued by the solicitor to the client were interim statute bills or requests for payment on account;
(2) The effect of any failures by the firm of solicitors to provide costs estimates;
(3) The effect of any failure to inquire as to BTE insurance; and
(4) Whether the effect of (2) and (3) was to invalidate the solicitors’ retainer.
District Judge Phillips found in favour of the solicitors on all 4 issues.
Of particular note is the fact that District Judge Phillips held that any failure to provide costs estimates or make enquiries as to BTE insurance did not invalidate the solicitors’ retainer. The client argued that the Court of Appeal’s decision in Garbutt v. Edwards  EWCA Civ 1206 was no longer binding because (amongst other reasons) of the change in the Solicitors’ Practice Rules. This argument was rejected by DJ Phillips.