Proportionality and what it means
As you may now one of the new key words when conducting legal proceedings today is proportionality, but to date there has not really been a great deal of guidance in this matter.
In November 2013 there was a high profile divorce judgment in favour of Michelle Young, who won a £20,million. Ms Young spent 6.4 million on legal costs. The Judge was not impressed and described the level of costs of the proceedings as being “completely unacceptable”, despite knowing that Ms Young had faced many problems in pursuing her claim and ordered a reduction of the costs. Though we have not had a definitive ruling in respect of the definition of proportionality it is clear the level of costs incurred in a case will be considered as against the value of the claim itself. i.e. if the value of your claim is £5000 and your incur £10,000 in legal fees, it seems that the Court will not consider this to be proportionate, even if your costs are reasonably incurred, at the end of your claim a Judge may reduce your costs. It is unlikely that this will affect Litigants in Person in quite the same way as legal professionals however the court’s may apply the principle of proportionality in respect of Expert’s reports obtained by you to support your claim and you may not recover the full value of the disbursement fee you incur in obtaining your expert evidence.
We will need to wait and see what guidelines the Court’s provide when an appropriate case comes before them. Until then remember you need to prove that any costs incurred in pursuing your claim are reasonable.
Deborah E Aloba
Affordable Law For You Limited
This article is for information purposes only