Regina (Bar Standards Board) v Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court – WLR Daily

Regina (Bar Standards Board) v Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court [2016] EWCA Civ 478

‘The Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court, having determined disciplinary proceedings in favour of a non-practising barrister who had represented herself at the hearing, ordered the Bar Standards Board to pay her costs and appointed an assessor to determine the amount. Treating the Civil Procedure Rules as persuasive, the assessor took the view that by reason of her status as a barrister and the fact that she had conducted the proceedings herself, the barrister had established financial loss sufficient to allow recovery of two thirds of the rate which a solicitor would have charged had CPR r 48.6 applied. He therefore assessed her costs in the sum of £27,521·50 for 166 hours of work, a figure not in dispute. The award included the costs of her time at the rate of £120 per hour. The board claimed judicial review of that decision, contending that the barrister was entitled to no more than that to which a litigant in person would have been entitled, and that the expenditure of her time and skill did not amount to financial loss within the meaning of CPR r 48.6(4)(a). The Divisional Court, allowing the claim in part, held that the correct basis of assessing costs was in accordance with regulation 31 of the board’s Disciplinary Tribunals Regulations 2009 as amended, namely, to award such costs as the tribunal thought fit, the Civil Procedure Rules being neither applicable nor persuasive, and the financial loss of a barrister acting in person defending disciplinary proceedings included the expenditure of the barrister’s own professional skill. The court therefore held that the barrister was entitled to the costs represented by her expenditure of professional skill in successfully defending the charges brought against her. The court concluded that an hourly rate of £120 was too high since she had not been practising at the time, and accordingly substituted an award of costs calculated at £60 per hour. The court further ordered the barrister, as an interested party in the proceedings,to pay 60% of the board’s costs of the judicial review proceedings.’

WLR Daily, 11th May 2016