Wigg & Co - the value element in costs
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Jemma Cost Co Ltd v Liptowtt
& Others CA TLR 30 October 2003
The subject matter of this appeal was non-contentious probate costs but
the judgments were concerned with an issue fundamental to all costs both
non-contentious and contentious.
contentious costs is governed by CPR Rule 44.5 (3)(b) the value elements
in both costs regimes including the Solicitors (Non-Contentious
Business) Remuneration Rule 1994 article 3 (f) describes that one of the
circumstances to be regarded in the valuation of solicitors remuneration
is "the amount or value of any money or property involved".
The value element in respect of both costs regimes is therefore one of
the prescribed factors, another is the seven pillars of wisdom and they
are the same. In the case cited the Costs Judge took the view that
solicitors time recording was now so sophisticated that making a
separate charge based on value as recommended by the Law Society was an
anachronism. The Court of Appeal held that he was wrong on two counts.
First, it was still appropriate for solicitors administrating an estate
to charge a separate fee based on the value of the estate provided
always that the remuneration was fair and reasonable in the light of the
circumstances. Second, by disallowing a change based on the value
element and only allowing a miserly hourly rate, the Costs Judge had in
effect failed to have any regard to the value element. The judgment read
together with the case of Maltby v D J Freeman & Co (1978) 2 All ER
The Report 913 emphasised the importance of the value element in both
non-contentious and contentious costs and why it is differently in each.
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