Do you want rates in excess of Guideline? Well, you must provide “clear and compelling justification”!

Today we take a look at the case of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd & Co -v- LG Display Co. Ltd & Anor (Costs) [2022] EWCA Civ 466 in which the Court of Appeal sent out one of the clearest messages to date that if a party wants rates in excess of the Guideline, “a clear and compelling justification must be provided” and the fact that a matter is a commercial case is simply not sufficient.

This is a matter in which the Respondent was successful and therefore costs were to be summarily assessed. The costs schedule submitted totaled costs of £72,818.21 which included rates (converted from dollars) of between £1,131.75 and £801.40 in respect of Grade A and rates between £443.27 and £704.00 for Grade C.

The Appellant, argued that these rates were excessive and were in excess of guideline hourly rates. It was argued that the London 1 rates only applied to “very heavy commercial and corporate work”.

The Respondent simply retorted that “(the) hourly rates are above the guideline rates, but that is almost always the case in competition litigation”.

The Judges held that there was “no justification at all. If a rate in excess of the guideline rate is to be charged to the paying party, a clear and compelling justification must be provided. It is not enough to say that the case is a commercial case, or a competition case, or that it has an international element, unless there is something about these factors in the case in question which justifies exceeding the guideline rate.”

Whilst it is clear the Respondent did not forward any compelling arguments; it demonstrate that you must always justify your rates when they exceed the Guideline hourly rates.

To see the full case, please see here.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact Karl Robson, here.