Alder Hey judge caps claimants costs

A judge has ruled that the claimants’ costs in the massive Alder Hey organ retention group litigation ought to be capped after finding that they are “excessive and exaggerated”.
Mr Justice Gage found that the claimant solicitors, Alexander Harris, substantially over estimated the number of hours of work required on so-called general issues relating to the action. There are 2,100 potential claimants, while 369 have registered.
He found that solicitors vastly overestimated the number of hours they would spend on the case. Their estimate was 3,410 hours while Gage considered the proper number to be 1,750.
The claimants’ barristers estimate of costs was above that of the defendants' barristers costs by £130,000 even though they were engaged “in much the same amount of work”.
He concluded that the claimants’ costs from 10 February 2003 to the end of trial should be capped at £506,500. He added that each party can apply to vary the order “in the event of some future unforeseen and exceptional factor” such as the trial lasting longer than four weeks.
Hempsons is advising the defendant, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.