Cases - The London Scottish Benefit Society v Chorley

Record details

The London Scottish Benefit Society v ChorleyThe London Scottish Benefit Society v Chorley
13 QBD 872
Construction claim - loss and expense claim - damages - litigant in person - costs - solicitor - solicitor acting as litigant in person - recoverability of costs of litigant in person - litigant in person exercising professional skill

In this case, the Court of Appeal was confronted by a litigant in person who was himself a solicitor. There it was held that he was entitled on taxation to the same costs as if he had employed a solicitor, except in respect of items which the fact of his acting directly rendered unnecessary. Brett MR reasoned that:

  • When an ordinary litigant comes to court, he may recover as costs his solicitor's fees but nothing for his own loss of time.
  • If a solicitor who represented himself was not entitled to ordinary costs for his own time, he would have no incentive to argue the case himself. A route which might enable a reduction in the costs of a claim would thereby be closed off.

Therefore 'it would be absurd to permit a solicitor to charge for the same work when it is done by another solicitor, and not to permit him to charge for it when it is done by his own clerk.'

The decision lends support, as noted in Sisu Capital Fund Ltd v Tucker & Ors, to the principle that a litigant in person who has some professional skill can recover in respect of the time spent exercising that skill.

For recent judicial comment on this case, see Malkinson v Trimm [2002] EWCA Civ 1273.