Court of Appeal clamps down on disbursements in Fixed Recoverable Costs Cases

The Court of Appeal this morning handed down judgment in the second appeal in Cham v Aldred [2019] EWCA Civ 1780. The case concerned the recoverability of counsel’s fee for providing an approval advice in cases involving children where such cases were Protocol or ex Protocol claims under the Fixed Recoverable Costs Rules. Whilst definitively determining this issue, the Court also gave robust and definitive guidance in relation to the recoverability of disbursements (other than those already expressly specified under the rules) in Fixed Recoverable Costs cases generally and such guidance will apply to all cases started under the RTA, EL and PL Protocols.

The Court allowed the appeal and therefore disallowed the claimed fee for counsel’s advice. An advice from counsel on approval in such a case was not something which arose by virtue of a ‘particular feature of the dispute’. Furthermore, the work was of a type which was deemed to be already covered by the fixed profit costs provided for which, on a swings and roundabouts basis, were wide enough to encompass the likely costs of dealing with typical cases where approval was needed without any extra costs allowance being required.

Roger Mallalieu acted for the successful Defendant/Appellant on the second appeal.