A case concerning Proportionality Decision has provided positive news for the Claimant. Master Brown whilst hearing the matter of Murrells v Cambridge University NHS Foundation Trust provided the following costs assessment.
In the main action the Claimant was successful in recovering damages against the Defendant following the death of her husband. The Claimant recovered £9,650.00 plus costs. The Claimant’s Bill of Costs was prepared in two parts; Part 1 for Pre-April 2013 and Part 2 for Post-April 2013. Following assessment the total costs figure was in the sum of £94,076.88 including additional liabilities. Master Brown was asked to consider whether post-April 2013 was disproportionate.
The Defendant’s argument was for base costs to be aggregated with the additional liabilities so the total figure was disproportionate. The Master concluded the new test of proportionality was not applicable to additional liabilities.
Master Brown agreed with the decision of Master Rowley in King v Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust… “I do not accept that additional liabilities are subject to the new test of proportionality or, even if they were, that they should be aggregated with the Claimant’s base costs for the purposes of that test.”
” To my mind, it is relevant to have particular regard to the approach to the assessment of additional liabilities under the old pre-LASPO rules. That approach is summarised at paragraphs 40 and 41 of Coventry v Lawrence  A.C. 106. In short, the Court does not ask itself whether the costs of an ATE premium or a success fee are proportionate to the importance of the case and what was at stake but looks at the litigation risk. If the premium is necessarily incurred, it is proportionate and it is proportionate even in the event that it is disproportionately high when compared with the damages reasonably claimed. The same reasoning applies to a success fee claimed by solicitors or counsel: such a fee is recoverable if it is proportionate to the risk of the lawyer not being paid (using the ‘ready reckoner’ tables).”