The action was a fast track case and action has been settled in the amount of the claim for divorce services but a difference of opinion regarding costs of this action. Claimant took action in October 2012 when 3 invoices totalling £7719.20 were not paid. Claimant took issue over differing bills (amounts up to and including £9800 supplied to the Ombudsman). The defendant clearly felt no sum was due whatsoever otherwise her defence would not have been to defend the whole sum and she would have either paid an agreed sum or made a part 36 offer. (I have no means for independent legal advice and limited explanation in court of proceedings) so turned to the Legal Ombudsman which the Judge was notified of at the directions hearing in March 2013 where he stayed action pending their findings which were received on 23/9/13. A final bill of £6039.32 was determined which noted poor service and compensation in light of this of £500 and this was paid in full on 31/1/14, but the firm requested additional costs for filing legal action in March 2014 as it was stated that I lost the case as I paid the Legal Ombudsman's determination as directed and was liable for costs as a result. I was criticised for seeking the Ombudsman's involvement after Court action was sought by the firm (which I was notified of by the court and not the firm at the time we were in email communication on the matter of the final bill due). Is there any legal basis I can appeal this?
yes. The legal ombudsman determined I owe £6039.32 and as £1000 had been paid on account, I paid £5039.32 on 31/1/14. Costs were awarded as I paid and lost the case and they want a further £7217.20
I have 3 pages of the judges determination, but no order as of yet unless matters continue. the firm wish to settle today for £6200. Do you need me to type out all 3 pages for you?
the final paragraphs states that " regrettably she failed on 2 counts - firstly she admitted no sum at all (because of poor service I had no way of knowing what was a fair payment especially in light of varying bills from £7000-£9800) and defended the whole sum which she ultimately accepted the legal ombudsman's decision and paid the £6039.32 she was placed in a difficult position as the claimant had succeeded and secondly, she made no part 36 offer for the sum that had been ascertained, and the dispute was over timing and method of payment - and so the claimant was justified in proceeding to judgement.
For this reason I find the defendant is liable for the claimant's costs of this fast track action to be assessed if not agreed."
not yet, no. The firm have extended the deadline for another 2 weeks so need advice on what I can do as it seems mad to have costs far in excess for 3 months poor legal service for which I've been compensated for by the legal Ombudsman, but I'm worried how going back to Court to have these assessed may affect matters as I don't want the fees to escalate even further. I cant believe the firm want £12,500 for 3 months poor service which I terminated. I don't feel the Judge is very sympathetic either which is causing me concern. Please advise
yes which included time for calls, email (not to me), reading documents, drawing up statement for a hearing which did not take place, VAT,,,etc
yes. the total now quoted is in excess of £7200
I wrote a letter requesting his permission to appeal. The Judge was aware of the sum, but made no comment on this, merely stating that his decision stands as to additional costs being due. His determination states if agreement cannot be reached he would decide the matter, but that means going back to court and potentially escalating fees further. Can you please advise?
I'm sorry I thought I was being clear - I wrote a letter requesting permission to appeal which was denied. I was informed by the Judge I could apply to a higher Court to appeal this further by his judgement regarding costs stood.
I'm still waiting for the help as so far I have only answered your questions but still not received any advice to date regarding my problem. I keep getting requests from you regarding feedback on this, but cannot give any until I obtain the answer(s) I seek.
I'm sorry to bother you again, but I've still not heard back from you regarding advice on this matter.
What would you do if you were in my position?
I was told about making an application to set aside judgement as the matter of costs has been resolved and paid already. Is this an option available to me as you haven't mentioned this? If so, how does this work exactly?