Although counsel had spent nearly 12 days preparing for a strike out application, the Deputy Costs Judge was fully entitled to conclude that this was a disproportionate effort that could not justify the brief fee of ?15,500 which had been claimed.Appeal by the claimant from a decision of Deputy Costs Judge Hoffman in relation to the amount allowed by him for the brief fee of the claimant's counsel ('F') on a detailed legal aid assessment. The assessment arose from an unsuccessful application by the defendants to strike out a claim for infringement of the claimant's copyright in certain technical drawings. F claimed a brief fee of £15,500 in relation to that application, which was reduced on assessment to £5,000. F claimed 9.5 days of preparation for the application, including the preparation of a chronology and skeleton argument, although he asserted that he had in fact spent nearly 12 days in preparing for the application. The Costs Judge accepted that F had carried out all the work claimed and had spent the time asserted, but nevertheless considered the amount claimed to be "extraordinarily high and not reasonable or justified". F appealed, citing the complexity of the application, the facts and the drawings, the amount of time spent on preparatory work, the importance of the application to the claimant and the potential value of the claim.HELD: (1) The basis on which the costs were to be assessed was standard. The costs must be proportionate regarding the matters in issue and reasonable in amount: CPR 44.4 and CPR 44.5. (2) Although counsel had spent nearly 12 days preparing for the strike out application, the Deputy Costs Judge was fully entitled to come to the conclusion that this was a disproportionate effort and that £5,000, to include the preparation of the chronology and the skeleton argument, was appropriate.Appeal dismissed.

[2003] EWHC 757 (Ch)

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