You may recall the Trafigura case. Allegations were made of exporting oil waste to Ivory Coast and causing personal injury to the local population. Leigh Day Solicitors sued on behalf of 29,614 claimants and Trafigura settled for £30M. MPs complained they were being gagged by the High Court etc.
Leigh Day then put in a costs bill - £104,707,772.72. That figure includes success fees for both solicitors and counsel of 100%, and an ATE premium of £9 million. Wow. Trafigura itself had spent a mere £14M.
The costs bill, surprisingly is being contested and the Senior Costs Judge has been answering some preliminary questions such as -
Do the Claimants' costs have the appearance of being disproportionate?
He has answered that one - Yes
We await a further assessment to see how much will be shaved off this historic and extradordinary bill?
Putting in a bill which is 3 1/2 times bigger than the sum recovered just about tells you all you need to know about success fees and ATE. And tells you why Jackson LJ is right. Roll on his reforms....
Comment in the Lawyer Magazine here.