Commercial Litigation

It is critical that the cost issues are dealt with by the right people. At MRN, our Commercial Litigation team is dedicated to this area – whether for budgets or the costs recovery/payment at the conclusion of a matter.

The Commercial Litigation Team works for several of the top 100 City firms in areas as diverse as Intellectual Property, Banking, Insolvency, Tax, Real Property, Tax and International Arbitration. Members of the team would be happy to attend at your offices to assist with any cost issue.

Our team brings a breadth of experience that is not seen elsewhere in the costs world. Our staff, many of whom are solicitors or have been called to the Bar, have had substantive experience dealing in commercial matters as well as their costs.

We take pride as being true cost litigators and combining our knowledge of costs law and recoveries, the substantive matter and the procedural costs rules to ensure that your position is best protected. In this way, the team regularly gets involved with issues like Security for Costs applications as well as supporting litigation funders in their risk profiling.

Our entire team is at ease with costs advocacy and relish the opportunity to attend costs management hearings to support or attack cost budgets.

Case Studies

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis:

Acting on behalf of a Claimant to recover costs following an action for declaratory relief as the beneficial owner of a percentage of company shares following a failure of the appropriate allotment of shares being made by the Defendant.

On this matter we acted on behalf of the Claimant who was seeking declaratory relief that it was the beneficial owner of one third of the issued shares in the Company. The nominal capital of the Company was £1,000.00 divided into 1000 ordinary shares of £1 each. The amount of capital paid up or credited as paid up was £200.00. A dispute arose between the claimant and the defendant and an agreement was reached and the terms of the one share in the Company would be transferred. During early 2010 the defendants was replaced as a Partner in the joint venture by the claimant with the two companies having common Directors and Shareholders. It was agreed and understood from the outset that the Company would be run as a quasi-partnership. It was agreed thereafter that the claimant would be an equal shareholder and would be substantially involved in the management of the Company’s affairs. However, despite calls made by the claimant for an appropriate allotment of shares to be made to it and for it to be registered as a one third shareholder in the company this was refused by the defendants.

The costs claimed herein follow a successful Appeal heard in the Court of Appeal. The Claimant must notify in writing the outcome of negotiations and that the parties were to file a Precedent H in default of which the provisions of CPR 3.14 should apply. An Order was received stating that that the Claimant was in breach of the Order and that CPR 3.14 should apply. Following from the Appeal the Claimant wasn’t excluded from the management of the Company’s affairs and, no shares being registered in its name. The claimant believed that they were entitled to a declaration that one third of the shares in the Company were held the defendants upon trust for the Claimant, together with all appropriate consequential relief. The Appellant was granted Relief from the Sanction imposed by CPR 3.14, costs of and incidental to the Application for Relief from Sanction and of the Hearing before a District Judge be in the cause, the Second Respondent do pay the Appellant’s costs. In default of compliance with the payment on account element of the Order the Appellant was at liberty to enter Judgment for the amounts due plus interest. The total costs produced a bill of £65,278.22

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Work Type: Budget

Synopsis:

Costs management of costs in excess of half a million points in a 5.5 million Breach of Contract claim regarding breaches of warranties and damages for misrepresentation in connection with a contract pursuant to which the client bought shares in a business.

This case concerns the consolidation of two actions. Both claims concern a Breach of Contract, including breaches of warranties and/or damages for misrepresentation in connection with a contract pursuant to which our client bought shares in a business. Estimated value at this moment in time is in excess of $5.5 million. We prepared a Precedent H which totalled £542,134.49 and advised on submissions on costs.

Work Type: Budget

Synopsis:

Costs Management of a half a million pound claim for costs in consolidated claim for breach of contract, misrepresentation, negligent misstatement as well as a petition under Part 30 of the Companies Act 2016 in respect of a joint venture for the development of property.

This case concerns the consolidation of two actions. The Claimant and the Defendant entered a Joint Venture for the development of property by way of an LLP. The Defendant (incorrectly) informed the Claimant that he would be able to renovate 7 for £560,000 (£1,010,000 was actually expended). The Defendant also owes the Claimant outstanding monies regarding completion monies on a second property. The Defendant could not account for the monies spent. The Vice Chancellor gave permission for the main action to be transferred to the Chancery Division going forward.

The first, main action was a claim for breach of contract, misrepresentation and negligent miss-statement and for payment of sums owing (balance of completion monies). This was in the Queen’s Bench Division, Mercantile Court.

The second action was a Petition under Part 30 of the Companies Act 20016 in respect of the Defendant’s breach of duties owed to the LLP (breached his duties to LLP, failed to keep a true account which took place in Chancery Division, Companies Court.

The losses are ongoing and the Petition will determine the level of monies. The first actions was pleaded in excess of £200k. We attended part of CCMC to consolidate the two matters – costs were not addressed therefore we didn’t attend the full hearing. The revised, updated budget totals £589,179.60.

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis:

Representing a Claimant who sort to recover his costs following a high value claim against his co-directors for damages for financial loss arising from unlawful acts, whereby they were found at trial to have conspired to have unlawfully converted the Claimant’s company shares.

This case concerns a claim on damages for financial loss and damage which arose from unlawful acts. The First and Second Defendants were former business partners of the Claimant who invested with the Claimant in a series of businesses. Their relationship deteriorated when the Defendants had sought to exclude the Claimant from the joint businesses by removing the Claimant as director and shareholder of both businesses. They forged or created a forgery of the Claimant’s signature in share transfer forms or alternatively by effecting the transfer of the Claimant’s shares without the Claimant’s knowledge or consent. As a result, the Claimant suffered loss and damages of the shares in both companies. The Claimant submitted that he was also entitled to be compensated by the Defendants for all dividends paid on the misappropriated shares since the date of their misappropriation.

The matter proceeded to a split liability trial. The judgment arising from this trial was handed down and found that the Defendants did conspire to unlawfully convert the Claimant’s 500 shares and that they were jointly and severally liable to the Claimant in respect of damages.

The level of damages in the dispute was £167,269.68 plus judgment interest of 8%. The Claimant was awarded damages for conversion including consequential damage in the sum of £117,934.00 and damages representing unpaid dividends in the sum of £37,256.00.

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis:

Recovery of costs in a claim for specific performance of a contract relating to sale of a freehold property in which the vendor failed to vacate following completion of sale.

This matter concerned a claim for specific performance of a contract and damages where we acted on behalf of the claimant. A written contract existed between the Claimant and the Defendant for the sale by the Defendant to the Claimant of freehold property. A claim was brought by the Claimant for specific performance of the said contract together with a declaration that the Claimant is not liable to pay interest on the purchase price for The Property. The compensation was sought under a paragraph of the contract for late completion and damages for breach of contract under the contract and in addition to or in lieu of specific performance or at common law. The vendor remained in occupation and was making no attempt to move. No agreement was reached with the vendor to allow him to remain in the property after completion. The matter proceeded to Counsel and was instructed to settle proceedings and given the urgency, an agent instructed to issue and serve. The total costs produced a Bill of £18K.

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis:

Recovery of costs to the sum of £125,000 concerning a commercial property matter whereby a claim was successfully brought for £26,000 against a third party.

This commercial property matter regarded a claim against a third party. The proceedings concerned building works that were carried out to a property which was owned by the claimant. The works involved converting the upper floors of the property into 3 flats. During the building works the first builder working on site committed suicide. The claimant was engaged to complete the building works. The claimant agreed to carry out work for the sum of £60,000 and then additional work totalling £37,089.60. The claimants claim only related to the additional works with a total claim for £36,683,60. The claimant’s claimed that he had not invoiced anyone for the £60,000 basic works but evidence was filed stating that he had been paid £64,213 by the third party in cash. The claim proceeded to a four day Trial. Judgement was delivered and awarded the sum of £26,425.23. The third party was ordered to pay the costs. The level of damages in the dispute was £26,000 although we claimed much higher. The total costs involved were £124,825.

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis:

Recovery of high value costs on behalf of the Respondents in a land dispute matter whereby the respondents occupied a piece of unregistered land adjoining the boundary of their property.

On this matter we acted on behalf of the Respondents in regards to who owned a piece of land. The Respondents were the registered proprietors having been in occupation of the Land or in receipt of rents and profits if it since 1995. The strip of land adjoining the western boundary of the piece of land was unregistered. When the Respondents purchased the land they believed that the aforementioned strip of land was part of it and, as such, they immediately began to occupy it. The total costs involved were £148,804.

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis:

Dealing with a the recovery of costs in a claim for losses of over half a million pounds for breach of duty and the principles of the COB rules in respect of an Interest Rate Swap Agreement whereby the Defendant alleged the option offered the claimant a lower costs of borrowing savings but in fact cost the claimant a large sum of money and credit.

This case concerned a disputed Interest Rate Swap Agreement where we acted on behalf of the Claimant. The Claimant, who owned two private schools, had maintained a banking relationship with the Defendant for over 20 years and had always enjoyed a good working relationship with their previous relationship managers over the years. At the beginning of 2006 the Claimant had a total facility from the Defendant of approximately £3.6 million which at the Defendant’s requirement was split into a fixed rate loan and a floating rate loan in the ratio of three quarters to one quarter. The defendant telephoned the Claimant and proposed a meeting to discuss a proposal what he called “Interest rate hedge” which would save the Claimant money. Accordingly the Defendant was required to classify the Claimant under the COB rules as a retail customer and to provide the Claimant with a written copy of its Terms of Business and to provide it with a warning as to the risks inherent in the transactions it was proposing, however they failed to do so. The Defendant gave a presentation to the Claimant notwithstanding the fact that it states that it contained a number of strategies but in fact offered just one strategy, an interest rate swap arrangement. The Swap did not provide the Claimant with a lower cost of borrowing or savings but in fact cost the Claimant large amounts of money and credit.

The Claimant felt that in its dealings the Defendant had breached its Duty of Care along with the implied terms of its contract for the difference with the Claimants and had acted in breach of the Principles and/or the COB Rules

The Claimant served the Particulars of Claim and Schedule of Loss which detailed the Claimants losses at £675,000.00. A stay was then agreed in order to try and allow matters to progress without the need for the procedural position being progressed. The matter was conducted under a Conditional Fee Agreement and After The Event Insurance Policy. The total cost produced a Bill of £114,805.72.

Synopsis:

Recovering costs on behalf of a successful Claimant whom acted as one of two executors of a Will following allegations brought by two defendant’s that the claimant had, in conjunction with the other executor acted dishonestly and at the time of the Will the deceased lacked testamentary capacity.

On this matter we acted on behalf of the Claimant following two Caveat’s being lodged in the estate of the deceased. The Claimant was one of the executors appointed under the last true Will of the Deceased. The other executor, confirmed he was happy to denounce his role as an executor following issues with his practice. Work was undertaken to establish what the two Defendants had particular issue with. They both felt that the other executor may have been dishonest in conjunction with the Claimant and that there were concerns over the deceased’s testamentary capacity. It was found that the First Defendant entered a Caveat on the appearance to the warning that he showed an interest as being executor under a purported Will of the deceased dated 20th November 2009. The Second Defendant had also entered a Caveat in the estate of the deceased. He alleged that at the time of the Will the deceased lacked testamentary capacity. Whilst the claim was being crystallised the deceased’s property was on the market and a buyer was found. Due to the state of disrepair the house was in the amount offered was substantially less than the value of the house would have been if it was in a more habitable state. Due to the Caveats being in place no sale could go through, however, this caused issues for the estate as the condition of the property was deteriorating. A hearing took place and was heard by a District Judge. Following consideration of the relevant parts of the CPR and the White Book, the District Judge K struck out paragraphs of the second Defendant’s Defence as it did not comply with the rules and was not detailed appropriately.

The District Judge advised that he could see no good reason why he should not give Judgment to the Claimant. He confirmed that he believed the Will had been duly executed and that there was no reason to conclude that the Claimant was not entitled to the relief sought on a summary basis. Costs of the claim were awarded to the Claimant to be paid by the Defendant and to be assessed if not agreed. The total costs produced a bill of £54,229.08.

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis

Representing a Defendant in a claim for costs exceeding £600,000 following the Claimant’s failure to follow the correct Pre Action procedure in respect of a claim brought by the seeking damages for losses suffered as a result of Breach of Contract, Breach of Trust, Breach of advisory duty, Cor-porate mismanagement and deceit as well as fraudulence.

On this matter we acted on behalf of the Defendants in connection with a defence of a substantial claim. The claim was brought against them by the Claimant seeking damages for losses suffered as a result of the alleged breach of contract, breach of trust, breach of the advisory duty, corporate mismanagement and deceit and fraudulence of the Defendants.

The Claimant failed to follow the Practice Direction on Pre Action Conduct and did not provide the Defendants with a Letter Before Action. Instead the Claimant simply issued proceedings against the Defendants therefore did not have an opportunity to consider the claim prior to being served with proceedings. The Defendants issued an application seeking an Order striking out the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim for various reasons including the fact that they disclosed no reasonable grounds for bringing the proceedings. The defendants were awarded their costs of the Defendant’s application to strike out the claim, the Claimant’s application to amend the CF and POC and the costs thrown away by the Claimant’s amendments.

The costs claimed herein relate to a discreet aspect of what is a very substantial, complex and commercially sensitive case. The claim has had, and continues to have, a detrimental impact upon the Defendants’ ability to do business and as a result the defence of the claim is a matter which is quite reasonably of great importance to the Defendants. The costs so far produced a bill of £648,255.05.

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis:

Dealing with recovery costs claimed to the sum of a quarter of a million pounds on behalf of two Claimant’s whom brought a professional negligence action against the Defendant in regards to the purchase of a dwelling house and land which they later became aware was situated on a flood plain prone to flooding.

On this matter we acted on behalf of 2 Claimants regarding a claim for professional negligence. The Claimants agreed “subject to contract” to purchase a dwelling house and land for use as their home. The Claimants were unaware that the Property was situated in an extremely rural location adjacent to a river to the north of the dwelling house on the Property. Yet further unbeknownst to the Claimants, the Property was situated on a flood plain and is prone to flooding from the river. The Claimants completed the purchase of the Property at a price of £297,500. The Defendant acted as the Claimants’ solicitor throughout the transaction. In breach of contract and/or negligently the Defendant failed to exercise all proper skill and care, diligence and competence in and about the purchase and conveyancing of the Property. As a result the Claimants suffered loss and damage in the sum of £125,000.

The Claimants served their Letter of Claim upon the Defendant with evidence in support and the Defendant advised that they were of the opinion that all parties should undergo further investigations in order to clarify the issues relating to flooding before they prepared the Letter of Response. A Tomlin Order was prepared and agreed between the parties that The Defendant shall pay the total sum of £62,000 (inclusive of all damages and interest) to the Claimants. The costs produced a bill of £252, 579,55.

Work Type: Budget, Submissions for application for security for costs

Synopsis:

Acting on behalf of a Defendant in the costs management of £4 million worth of costs relating to a claim arising from a Sale and Purchase Agreement for the manufacture and supply of an aircraft whereby the Claimant’s failure to make various payments under the SPA resulting in damages claimed at £30 million.

On this matter we acted on behalf of the defendant. The Claim arose out of a Sale and Purchase agreement between the parties for the manufacture and supply of and aircraft by the defendant for use by the claimant’s aircraft airline. The SPA was terminated by the defendant due to the claimant’s failure to make contractual pre-delivery payments. The claimant was prevented from starting its business due to the defendant being unable to supply the aircraft according to an agreed delivery schedule and coerced the claimant into accepting delays to the agreed schedule by threatening to sabotage efforts to obtain the financing necessary to purchase the aircraft. The claim alleges breach of contract and pre-contractual negligent misrepresentation by the defendant.

The defendant was able to supply the aircraft according to the agreed schedule with the exception of a short single period for which the claimant was compensated. The claimant failed to make various payments under the SPA and in those circumstances the defendant properly exercised its contractual rights to reschedule the delivery of the aircraft. As a result of the claimants breech, the defendant terminated the SPA and the losses were by the claimant as a result of its own failure.The matter proceeded to court for a QBD.

The level of damages in dispute were £30 million and the costs involved were in excess of £4 million.

Work Type: Budget

Synopsis:

Acting on behalf of a successful claimant in the costs management of a claim for £100,000 following the breakdown of a partnership whereby the Defendant had asked to borrow some money from the Claimant until the resolution of cash flow issues but subsequently failed to repay the Claimant.

On this matter we acted on behalf of the Claimant where a disagreement arose as to sums owed following a breakdown of a partnership. The defendant asked to borrow some money from the claimant until his cash flow issues had subsided. The claimant agreed to lend some money to the defendant on the basis that it would be repaid in full as soon as possible. The claimant lent the defendant a total of £106,132. The relationship broke down when the defendant failed to pay the money back despite the claimant making numerous requests for the payment owed to him. The Claimant was seeking £100,000.00 owed by the Defendant to the Claimant and was successful and was able to recoup £98,129.47. The budget totalled £50,000

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis:

Acting on behalf of an Applicant to recover costs in regards to a successful Appeal to the Privy Council for determination of a contract between the Appellant and Respondent for the provision of electricity and other services to the Respondents premises. The Privy Council found there was a contract in place whereby the Appellant, whom was appointed to manage a shopping centre in Antigua, was entitled to payment of invoices from the Respondent as opposed to the company whom had appointed the Appellant as the Responded alleged.

On this matter we acted on behalf of the Appellant in regards to a successful Appeal to the Privy Council brought by the Appellant. The Appellant was appointed to manage and maintain a shopping centre in Antigua on behalf of a company. As a result of this appointment, the Appellant was responsible for supplying electricity to the Respondent who occupied the upper floor of the shopping centre. The Appellant issued invoices to the Respondent on a regular basis in respect of the electricity supplied to them but the Respondent failed to discharge them. The Appellant therefore threatened to withdraw the services they provided to the Respondent. The Respondent argued that they were owed a debt by the company, who had appointed the Appellant, and that they had therefore simply offset the payments they owed in respect of the electricity against this debt and had therefore not made any payments to the Appellant. The Respondent did ultimately make a payment of $10,000.00 to the Appellant though it had been made under duress.

The Respondent issued proceedings against the Appellant. The Trial Judge found in favour of the Appellant and ordered the Respondent to pay the judgment sum to the Appellant in satisfaction of the debt owed plus 80% of their prescribed costs. The Respondent appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found by a majority in favour of the Respondent. However, the Court of Appeal failed to define the issues for determination in the Appeal and as a result a number of important matters had not been properly considered in reaching their judgment.

The Appellant therefore served a Notice of Appeal to the Privy. The Appeal Hearing took place and a declaration was made that there was a contract between the Appellant and Respondent for the provision of electricity and other services and that the Respondent was therefore bound to pay the sums due under that contract. The case was thereafter remitted to the High Court to determine the sums due under the contract together with interest and costs. The costs produced a bill of £68,076.46

Work Type: Bill of Costs

Synopsis:

Acting on behalf of the Claimant to recover costs claimed in the sum of £48,000 in regards to a claim for damages for injury and associated losses including inconvenience arising from conditions of damp at his property along with a claim for repairs pursuant to S.11 Landlord and Tenant Act amounting to £25,000.

On this matter we acted on behalf of the claimant in regards to a claim for damages for injury and associated losses including inconvenience arising from conditions of damp at his property along with a claim for repairs pursuant to S.11 Landlord and Tenant Act.

The Claimant had been a sole tenant at the property during which the property experienced a number of floods by way of ingress of sewerage which had come up through an internal drain situated in a storeroom and that the source of the backed up sewerage was a manhole situated in the rear garden. Whilst the incident was immediately reported and arrangements put in place for an insurance assessor to inspect the aftermath no remedial work was carried out. The Claimant had not been decanted to facilitate the remedial cleaning and repairs. On the day of the flood four people attended the Claimant’s property to put down sandbags and the contaminated carpet was removed the next day, however, no further work took place.

The Claimant unfortunately suffered a stroke resulting from the stress about his helplessness regarding the situation following the floods and the failure on the part of the Trust to prevent the reoccurrences and being left in a damp property. The Claimant suffered from multiple sclerosis, impaired speech and balance problems at the time of the flood and despite these problems was still left in inadequate housing. It was the Claimant’s belief that following consultation with his General Practitioner it was as a result of being exposed to damp conditions that he began to suffer respiratory breathing symptoms and had to be prescribed an inhaler.

Following a Letter of Claim being submitted the Defendant’s Representatives advised that their investigations were ongoing and requested details of the Claimant’s medical records along with his National Insurance details. However, shortly thereafter on 25th June 2013 the Defendant’s Representatives reverted back and requested an extension of time for a formal response to the Letter of Claim. In the interests of being reasonable and proportionate the Claimant agreed the two week extension that was requested.

Following the investigations the Defendant’s Representatives reverted back with an admission of liability subject to causation. In response to that the Claimant requested copies of any disclosure records including assessors and surveyors reports.

Following completion of medical evidence and finalisation of the witness statements that had been prepared in support of the Claimant’s claim an offer was put forward by the Claimant in the sum of £30,000.00. In response the Defendant’s Representatives put forward a Part 36 Offer of £5,000.00.
The parties reached an agreement in respect of damages in the sum of £25,000.00 with costs in addition. The costs produced a bill of £48,607.36.

Testimonials

Elliot Lister, Partner, Asserson Law, International Law Firm

We have turned to MRN for assistance with costs matters on a number of occasions, most recently on a long-standing and difficult detailed assessment. We have found them to be co-operative, patient and helpful. They have carried out work promptly and efficiently without sacrificing accuracy.

Daniel Clifford, Partner, Devonshires LLP

“We use MRN Solicitors for complex commercial costs matters. They are knowledgeable, efficient and collaborative. I cannot recommend them highly enough.”

Craig Emden, Managing Partner, Howard Kennedy LLP

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Colin Young, Partner, Boodle Hatfield LLP

“MRN have an excellent grasp of the commercial realities of our work – something that is equally as important as their undoubted capabilities as costs experts.”

Christopher Stothers, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP

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Andrew Beck, Partner, Walker Morris LLP

“We have always received a thoroughly professional service from MRN. They are always happy to provide advice when needed and have a refreshing commercial attitude.”

Hugh James, Partner, Andrew Jackson LLP

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Steven Richards, Partner, Foot Anstey LLP

“MRN are responsive and cost-effective. Their work has been praised by a High Court costs master for its accuracy and focus.”

ANDREW LITCHFIELD, PARTNER, GOWLING WLG

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HANNAH CLIPSTON, PARTNER, IRWIN MITCHELL LLP

“MRN’s efficient approach means they are able to deal with difficult costs matters in a very short timescale.”

Colin Young, Partner, Boodle Hatfield LLP

“Your advocates are razor sharp and achieve remarkable results at our CCMC’s, I have recommended them to all my colleagues.”