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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I went to court as my tenant disputed the possession order

Customer Question

I went to court as my tenant disputed the possession order that the judge had ordered. He won because at the hearing we could not prove that we did supply the prescribed information to the tenant.
At the 2nd hearing he had a barrister. The 1st hearing just established that an ajournemrt was due.
Tenant was legally aided/publically funded.
We have tried to get a breakdown of costs for a number of months but only after my solicitor moved on to another firm and we are without a legal representative, have the tenants solicitor issued a detailed breakdown. The detailed breakdown is not actually that detailed ie he claims £4800 of the £6000 cost was due to inter partes. Not sure what this means but I do think that the costs should amount to around £600 as stated by an independent solicitor.
Should I have to pick up any costs if defendant was legally aided/publically funded?
What should the costs amount to roughly?
Can you review my breakdown of costs and advise me where there are issues eg if a phonecall is costing £50 surely the solicitor should have to explain what the call was about and how long it lasted and perhaps some evidence to prove it.
My main concern is the cost of inter partes which amounts to £4800 on top of the costs for the calls, barrister, forms etc.
How can these costs be so excessive over a simple half hour hearing where a barrister was used? This is a simple possession order dispute and he was legally aided.
I also want to point out that the solicitors took months to respond to my solicitors request for a breakdown of costs and he never gave it until my solicitor had left his firm. Could there be a reason for this ie he wanted to see how much the public fund would pay him etc?
My solicitor had applied for a small claims hearing where I was to complete a directions questionnaire. This was because the 3rd party solicitor was taking too long in responding to his request for a costs breakdown.
Many thanks,
Waheed.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

Has the Judge assessed costs at all at any hearing please?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

No.

Alex Watts :

How were costs left in the Court orders please?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

I think the Judge ordered that the possession order be set aside and that we pay the defendants cost whichb are subject to detailed assessment if not agreed.

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

My solicitor was annoyed because they could never be agreed as the 3rd party did not provide the costs despite his numerous requests.

Alex Watts :

Ok - but the costs have never been agreed, is that right?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Can I also mention that we currently don't have a solicitor and it is now that he has given the details of costs.

Alex Watts :

Costs have never been agreed or assessed?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Yes costs have never been agreed although he spoke to us on the phone and we said we will pay max of £1200 out of court.

Alex Watts :

Ok. Then you write to them and say that costs are not agreed.

Alex Watts :

They then ask for a detailed assessment hearing.

Alex Watts :

Then you both go before a Judge and go through each and every item and they have to explain to the Judge what it is for and what work was done. The Judge will then see if it was necessary, time spent reasonable and the cost proportionate.

Alex Watts :

At the end the Judge will give a final total of the costs

Alex Watts :

So you can seek a detailed assessment of the costs

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

What about the directions questionnaire that my solicitor instigared. Is that something I should just ignore?

Alex Watts :

Is this a new claim? Is it a new claim for the costs?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Problem with going before a Judge is that the judge may just say in the interest of both parties lets agree a cost of £3000 which is exactly what the solicitor wants.

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

My solicito

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

my solicitor instigared the directions q because the 3rd party solicitors were not responding to his request for a detailed breakdown.

Alex Watts :

Is this DQ claim a new claim for these costs or arising out of the same proceedings?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

It relates to the same costs and I think it's a new claim as it was not issued straightaway , instead it was issued after my solicitor got fed up with them for stalling.

Alex Watts :

Ok. You should send this back and ask for the claim to be stayed.

Alex Watts :

The other side Solicitor should NOT be issuing a new cliam.

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

I have requested the court to extend the deadline for this as I was not sure what to do with a legal rep

Alex Watts :

You can argue this is an abuse of process and should be struck out

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

without a legal rep

Alex Watts :

Instead the Solicitor should be asking the Judge to assess the costs of the other claim

Alex Watts :

Otherwise what is the point of putting subject to detailed assessment if not agreed

Alex Watts :

They are not agreed, therefore should go to detailed assessment

Alex Watts :

You should therefore ask that thew NEW claim is stayed and the OLD claim goes off to detailed assessment

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

The 3rd part solicitor should be asking the judge to assess costs, or is it my solicitor? What do you mean by other claim?

Alex Watts :

The Solicitor for the OTHER side should be asking the Court to assess costs.

Alex Watts :

Or your Solicitor can do this.

Alex Watts :

The other claim meaning the existing claim

Alex Watts :

The Solicitor should NOT have issued a new claim for costs

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Ok so I should complete the direction questionnaire and state that the new claim is stayed and old claim goes to detailed assessment.

Alex Watts :

Yes, complete and ask for it to be stayed as it is as a result of an existing costs order.

Alex Watts :

If they wanted to enforce the costs order it should be on the OLD claim

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

I am a little confused with new and old claim.... sorry.

Alex Watts :

New claim - one just issued for costs

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

There is an order that costs be paid

Alex Watts :

Old claim - the possession claim

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

ok

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

The new claim is simply a list of costs. Nothing else.

Alex Watts :

Yes

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

is that still a claim

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

ok

Alex Watts :

That should be dealt with on the old possession claim

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Yes if new claim is stayed what does that entail and if I ask for old claim to be sent for detailed assessment then they will appoint a drafts person to review costs?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

To simplify can you list each step I should take

Alex Watts :

1) Send the DQ asking claim to be stayed

Alex Watts :

2) Ask your Solicitor to apply to Court on the possession claim to have costs assessed

Alex Watts :

3) You or your Solicitor attends Court for the possession costs and argues at a detailed assessment

Alex Watts :

That is it

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Ok but the possession claim is no longer valid as it was set aside. Can solicitor still ask for costs to be assessed on the possession claim?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Presumably it's not wise for me to do this myself?

Alex Watts :

I thought you said the possession order was set aside but there was an order for costs?

Alex Watts :

You said you had to pay D's costs subject to detailed assessment if not agreed

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Yes

Alex Watts :

Yes so there is an order for costs against you, even with the possession order set aside?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

ok. What should I expect to pay a solicitor to deal with this?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Should I get an independent draftsperson for analysing costs?

Alex Watts :

It maths - if your Solicitor charges £150 an hour it depends how much work and time is spent.

Alex Watts :

If you win at the detailed assessment hearing then you can ask for costs, if the other sides costs have been unreasonable.

Alex Watts :

You can always expect to wipe off around 25% of their bill in an assessment

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

what can I expect the costs to be reduced to ie 6k is excessive is it not?

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Defendant was legally aided

Alex Watts :

Its hard to say, I have not seen the bill. So I dont know what was done on what areas of work

Alex Watts :

But it does seem high for a fairly easy case

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

yes helpful but have a number of question from my initial question

Alex Watts :

Sure.

Alex Watts :

List them one by one and I will help

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

inter partes at 4800 - what is this

Alex Watts :

Correspondence between Claimant and Defendant or legal representatives

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

then surely this should be more like £50 as there were a max of 7 or 8 letters back and forth

Alex Watts :

That depends how long the letters are of course. But it seems excessive

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Well usually 1-2 pages but there were a cou[le of occasions where they sent a detailed letter with around 20 points listed on them but these points were irrelevant to the case.

JACUSTOMER-sw8hvxlq- :

Still even with 20 points not more than 5 pages

Alex Watts :

Ok, maybe £15 a letter

Alex Watts :

£25 at most

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer before you leave today.


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