Property

The other side won’t explain how the costs my client must pay are calculated. What can I do?

I act for a tenant on the assignment of a commercial lease that provides they must bear the landlord's costs. The amount is high, but their solicitor won't explain how it’s been calculated. What can I do?

In addition to checking the terms of the lease itself and considering any implied terms relating to the payment of costs, you could consider:

  • referring the landlord’s solicitor to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Principles
  • reminding the landlord’s solicitor of their obligations under the Solicitors’ Remuneration Order 2009

SRA Principles

SRA Principles 2 and 5 require solicitors to act:

  • in a way that upholds public trust and confidence in the solicitors’ profession and in legal services provided by authorised persons
  • with integrity

Paragraph 1.2 of the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs and Code of Conduct for Firms also states:

“You do not abuse your position by taking unfair advantage of clients or others.”

Solicitors' Remuneration Order 2009

You could remind the landlord’s solicitor that your client would be able to have their bill assessed as a third party liable to pay a solicitor's bill under section 71 of the Solicitors Act 1974.

Under article 3 of the Solicitors' (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009, a solicitor's costs must be fair and reasonable, having regard to all the circumstances of the case.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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