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Ask Buachaill Your Own Question

Buachaill, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 8819
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Customer Question

I had a high court case which settled out of court. The high court ordered that the defendant do pay to the plaintiff the costs of the said proceedings to be taxed in default of agreement. I have learned today that there has been no agreement with the costs....and that my solicitor is now engaging a legal cost accountant to proceed to taxation. Am I as the plaintiff liable for the costs of this? If there is a shortfall - do I have to pay this to the solicitor.  I have not yet received a client/solicitor bill although the solicitor retained a percent of my award to cover same.  If I think all his fees are excessive - what can I do (both party to party and client to solicitor).  There was admission of liability by the defendant a few weeks before the trial date.  The cost that my solicitor is seeking from the other party are almost 300,000 euros.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
1. Who pays the costs of the taxation of costs as between party and party depends on the outcome of the taxation of the solicitor's bill of costs. The rule is that where more than one sixth is taxed from a bill of costs, then the losing side pays the costs of taxation. Accordingly, if more than one sixth is taxed off your solicitor's bill of costs in the taxation of costs, then you will end up paying the costs of the taxation. So you should assess the bill of costs submitted yourself in advance of the hearing. One party, namely you, will have to sign a Requisition to Tax in order to bring the matter before the Taxing Master. This essentially is an undertaking to pay the costs of taxation should you loose or the other party go bankrupt. So you should agree with your solicitor that he end up bearing the costs of the taxation on his bill if more than one sixth is deducted from it.
2. A separate issue arises between you and your solicitor in relation to client and own solicitor costs. Here you will have to submit it to taxation if you believe it is too large. Alternatively, if you believe the fees are excessive, you can refer it to the Law Society under their jurisdiction under the Solicitors Amendment Act 1994 over "excessive costs". Here go to the Law Society's website at where you will find details of how to proceed with this course of action.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Am really confused with this cost of taxation re: party to party. Are you saying that if the bill is reduced by more than one sixth by the taxing master, then i am liable for the cost of going to taxation? Do both parties have to agree to the figure that the taxing master determines is a fair fee? How much would be the cost of this process? If my solicitor does not agree to bear the costs of this if the figure is reduced by more than one sixth..can I do anything? Can I refer the party to party fees to the law society as I think they are excessive?


I have not yet received a bill for client solicitor fees? This case was settled in December 2012? Should I have received it yet ?

Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
3. At the outset, the Law society have no jurisdiction over party and party costs. That is why I did not mention this jurisdiction except in relation to solicitor and own client costs. Secondly, if the bill of costs have one sixth taxed off it, then you will be liable for the costs of the taxation. Thirdly there is no such thing as a fair fee that both parties have to agree to. The Taxing Master determines what is a reasonable (fair) fee and that applies. The Taxing Master is the adjudicator in the dispute over fees between the parties. (S)he hears submissions from law costs accountants from both sides and then determines what is a reasonable fee. Fourthly, there is no obligation for your solicitor to agree to pay the costs if your taxation loses in relation to costs. That is up to negotiation. And yes, you could be left with the costs personally. Fifthly, the costs associated with a law costs accountant are about €5,000 per day. So depending on how long the taxation lasts, you may be liable for these fees.
4. I appreciate this whole process is convoluted and difficult to understand. However, you should request a solicitor and own client bill from your own solicitor. Normally these take some time to prepare, so I wouldn't worry if you haven't received it so far. I don't think the solicitor will forget about it!!
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanking you for your responses. I take it that at most i could be liable for taxing costs...and not the difference if the party to party costs are reduced by the taxing master. As you can appreciate this is all new to i welcome your expert advice to gain some insight into the whole process which has never been explained to me.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
5. You need to realise that if party and party costs are reduced, then it is your own solicitors portion of his fees that are recovered from the other side that are reduced. That then means that your solicitor will look to you to pay them under solicitor and own client fees. So you have a vested interest in party and party costs being as high as possible and solicitor and own client fees being as low as possible. Your own solicitor should explain the situation to you. However, many solicitors don't as it is their fees that one is talking about.
6. The costs of the taxation are a separate head again. Here, depending on your solicitor's bill you may become liable for them or not - under the one sixth rule.
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