Solicitor acting in own action – a litigant in person?
Shaman Kapoor has been successful before Regional Costs Judge Lumb in the county court at Oxford in resisting the claims of a solicitor acting in his own action for an hourly rate of £500 per hour. In a succinct judgment, the opening paragraph states: “This judgment concerns an important preliminary issue raised in a detailed assessment of costs that is commonly misunderstood by members of the legal profession including some of the judiciary.” The court reviewed the line of authorities stemming from the principle first established in Chorley, together with more recent authorities from the Court of Appeal in Malkinson and Halborg, as well as first instance decisions in Zakirov, JMH and Poole. The judgment underscored the requirement for a solicitor who seeks to claim the hourly rate of a firm to first be represented in fact by the firm, including as per the court record. The judgment went on to find that there was no sufficient evidence to base the alternative claim for financial loss and went on to distinguish Master Rowley’s judgment in Poole for it having overlooked the requirement. The solicitor was awarded £19 per hour for the work done by him and made a recovery of 2.3% of the profit costs he had claimed. The court went on to exercise its discretion pursuant to CPR 47.20(1)(b) and made a different order to the usual order for the costs of the detailed assessment, awarding to the paying party 50% of its costs.
Shaman appeared on behalf of the successful paying party in Ashok Patel v Subir Karmakar, first on 21 November 2021, and then on 12 January 2023 for the resumed hearing, when judgment was handed down. He was instructed by Emma Wilson, Costs Lawyer through Kelly Owen Solicitors.
The Patel v Karmakar Judgement is available to download below.