Arcadia Group, Topshop/Topman Limited & Philip Green v Telegraph Media Group [2019] EWHC 96 (QB)

Hourly rates and proportionality

2019 in the world of costs kicked off with some interesting comments on hourly rates. Whilst the subject of at the heart of this litigation hit the headlines for a number of reasons, it is arguable that the issue of the costs in the case slipped under the radar.

The matter was shortly to proceed to Trial, which was natural given the urgent nature of the proceedings, and Costs Budgets were prepared to costs manage the three remaining phases (PTR, Trial Prep and Trial). The Claimant’s Solicitors hourly rates were claimed at £690 for a Grade A and £190 for a Grade D. Warby J considered and commented that the hourly rates claimed were in excess of the Guideline Hourly rates and very high. The Judge then went onto comment that hourly rates not in excess of £550 ph for the Grade A could be justified.

The Judge’s comments should be considered with a pinch of salt and an important caveat should be emphasised. CPR PD 3E para 7.10 makes it clear that it is not the role of the Court in the costs management hearing to fix or approve the hourly rates claimed in the Budget.

The full judgment can be read here

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