Wigg & Co - interest on costs
Call us on 01892 529518. Experience counts.
Victor Webb MAE
broke new ground when he represented a litigant in the High Court before
Mr Justice Nelson and assessors on 16th October 2001 in the case of
Argonaut Property Development Limited against Collyer-Bristow Soliciors
who were represtented by Counsel, Mr Edward Francis. The court exercised
discretion to allow Victor Webb the right of audience in exceptional
circumstances. The company litigant in person was unsuccessful in the
Appeal but the decision raised an 'interesting' point on overpaid costs.
Short report as follows:
Argonaut Property Development Ltd -v- Collyer-Bristow  SCCO
Review No.9 of 2001, QB (Nelson J).
Interest on overpaid costs
Held: When a costs judge ordered the repayment to the client of
costs which, in the light of the detailed assessment result, turned out
to have been overpaid, he had no power in the ordinary case to order
repayment with interest. None of the obvious sources of jurisdiction to
make such an order applied - s 35A of the Supreme Court Act 1981, s
66(a) of the Solicior's Act 1974, the general equitable jurisdiction of
the court or either the old or new Solictors Accounts Rules.
Comment: The result of this case is obviously unjust since it
puts Solicitors in the unique position of being given interest free
loans by their clients where they overcharge them. If legislation is
required to reverse the decision then such a provision should be
included in the next relevant statute, but the editor of Butterworths on
Costs questioned whether the result might not be different in the Court
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