The question of what costs to award (if any) to a party who has failed to provide a schedule of costs troubled the High Court recently in the case of The Queen (on the application of the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority) -v- Imran  EWHC 2572 (Admin).
Mr Justice Dove was concerned with an appeal against the finding of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal following two days of hearing. The effect of the was that the Respondent in the appeal should be suspended from practice as a solicitor for a period of two years. The appeal was brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority on the basis that that sentence or sanction was excessively lenient and that the Court should substitute an order striking off the Respondent.
Although not directly relevant to this article, briefly the cause of the unfortunate solicitor’s predicament was an effort by him to avoid the consequences of a speeding ticket by providing false information on the section 172 notice. The false information related to the identity of the driver of the vehicle. As a result of this deception a police investigation was launched and the Respondent accepted his wrongdoing. After an unsuccessful appeal against sentence the Respondent served one month of a two month term of imprisonment.
Mr Justice Dove, dismissing the appeal against the finding of the Disciplinary Tribunal, could not find that there was sufficient evidence that the finding at first instance was ‘clearly inappropriate’.
When it came to assessment of the Respondent’s costs, however, Counsel for the Respondent conceded that no schedule had been provided and requested detailed assessment.
Counsel for the Appellant submitted first that there was ‘no notice other than by implication that an application would be made’ and secondly that as there was a clear public interest in bringing such an appeal the Appellant should not be inhibited from doing so. As such he asked that each party pay their own costs.
Initially noting that Lord Justice Jackson would probably conclude that the costs be assessed at zero, Mr Justice Dove continued to decide that detailed assessment was disproportionate, putting the parties to further expense.
He then proceeded to make a ‘summary notional assessment’ of costs in the sum of £5,000 in the absence of any schedule.
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