News & Resources

Solicitor success on 4 preliminary issues in a solicitor-client costs dispute

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 [2005] 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.

Related Barristers

Sian Reeves

Sian Reeves
Year of Call: 2006

Close X

Coronavirus Update

TGC continues proactively to safeguard against the risks posed by the spread of Coronavirus. We have a Covid-19 Committee who continue to monitor the situation and follow advice issued by the Government and Public Health England. We will be updating this page as and when new information becomes available. As of 6 July 2020, our London premises, 1 Harcourt Buildings, will be operating with a reduced clerking team in attendance. The remaining staff members and barristers will continue working remotely. We wish to reassure everyone that our contingency plans enable us to continue to provide our services.

Telephoning us

When calling our switchboard number, it will be diverted to a member of the clerking team who will be able to assist in the usual way. All direct dials in Chambers are diverted to be answered remotely.

Emailing us & Sending Instructions

Please send all instructions via email directly to We would be grateful if this could be sent in an orderly fashion to enable working from a screen manageable. We are able to receive hard copy instructions via DX or Post, if necessary. However, we have a preference for electronic documents wherever possible.

Please continue to communicate with barristers directly via phone or email.

Conferences, Joint Settlement Meetings & Mediations

Conferences, meetings and mediations will take place remotely, either by telephone or video until further notice. Group Telephone calls and video calls can be easily arranged. If an in-person meeting is felt necessary please see our Covid-19 Information page for full criteria.

Court Hearings

We are following the Government’s advice closely, which is changing daily. In keeping with that advice, we will continue to service hearings remotely, where possible and as instructed by the hosting Court. In-Person hearings will be accommodated by members of TGC. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Making a payment

If you do not already pay us by BACS, going forward please make arrangements to do so. Please contact the clerks who can supply you with the relevant BACS details.

If you wish to discuss our policy and procedure relating to coronavirus, please do not hesitate to contact our senior clerk Dean Norton on 07535 753098 or

To learn more visit our Covid-19 Information page.