The Rise of Proportionality


03 March, 2015

(1) Savoye (2) Savoye Limited v Spicers Limited (2015)[2015] EWHC 33 (TCC) QBD (TCC) (Akenhead J) 15/01/2015

In this matter the High Court took the dramatic step of reducing a costs bill claimed in the sum of over £200,000 by 50% and summarily assessing costs in the sum of £96,465 on the basis of proportionality.

The Court found that the Defendant's costs did not justify indemnity costs. A costs bill of over £200,000, albeit in relation to a claim worth just under £900,000, was considered disproportionate.

Under CPR Part 44.3(2) (a) the court is now required when assessing costs on a standard basis to:

"allow costs which are proportionate to the matters in issue. Costs which are disproportionate in amount may be disallowed or reduced even if they were reasonably or necessarily incurred"

It was made clear in the Judgment that the Court proceedings were not complex; the Judge described the matter as a "one issue case". The overall time was reduced as the Claimants' had deployed the same solicitors and principal factual witness as they had in the original adjudication. The fees charged by the Partner running the case were also highlighted, the 111 hours claimed by the Partner being reduced to just 20 hours.

Forbes comment

This is an invaluable authority for paying parties and provides an indication as to how the Court will apply the new rule on proportionality going forwards.

For further information please contact Sarah Wilkinson on 01254 662831 or email


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