Should costs be detailed or summarily assessed?

The claim was initially brought by the claimants (Brakes) against the defendants (Guy Parties) in respect of alleged misuse of confidential information and infringement of privacy. Both at first instance and on appeal the Brakes’ claim was unsuccessful. Following the appeal, the Brakes challenged the amount of costs claimed by the Guy Parties as excessive and also submitted that the costs should be subject to detailed rather than summary assessment.

The Guy Parties submitted an application by notice dated 12 September 2022 for an order under regulation 7(2)(b) of the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 (the 2020 Regulations), SI 2020/1311, for permission to take steps to enforce a third party debt order during a Mental Health Crisis Moratorium. It is thought to be the first reported judgment on the construction regulation 7(2)(b).

The court was required to determine the costs of a successful application by Guy Parties. The judge held that this was an appropriate case for summary assessment. CPR PD 44 paragraph 9.2 provides that the court should make a summary assessment of the costs unless there is good reason not to do so. It was held that it would cause much more trouble and incur disproportionate costs if it a detailed assessment was required. This case reaffirms the courts ability to exercise discretion on both the amount of costs and mode of assessments on a fact sensitive basis.

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