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The Wasted Costs Jurisdiction

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The wasted costs jurisdiction is flawed for six reasons, based on an analysis of all reported cases in the last nine years and five years of statistics provided by the Bar Mutual Insurance Fund Limited, and despite the guidance laid down by the Court of Appeal in Ridehalgh v Horsefield [1994] Ch 205. First, it is very costly proportionate to the amount recovered. Secondly, judges can initiate a wasted costs enquiry, which is unfair and even more disproportionately costly. Thirdly, it is procedurally complex. Fourthly, it is unpredictable whether the client will waive privilege, and what the consequences will be whether or not privilege is waived. Fifthly, it is not possible for solicitors and barristers to make contribution claims against each other. Sixthly, it is mostly used against lawyers representing legally aided litigants from whom costs cannot be recovered.
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Keywords: Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund; Courts and Legal Services Act 1990; Ridehalgh v Horsefield; wasted costs

Document Type: Original Article

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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