The court dealt with costs applications, including one under section 19 of the 1985 Act. The court observed that it was unclear whether a Judge dealing with a determination under section 19 could seek the assistance of the NTT or SCCO, however, given the likelihood that applications of this type are likely to increase suggested that the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee and/or the Lord Chief Justice might give further consideration to the point .
The correct approach to the making of such orders was set out by the court .
In the instant cases rates as high as £750 per hour were charged by leading counsel.
The court held: I accept that this case warranted counsel of particular calibre, experience and expertise. However, on the basis of my knowledge of the case – and my knowledge and experience of counsel’s fees generally – I do not consider that the rates charged are reasonable in the context of a section 19 assessment. I consider that the hypothetical counsel referred to by Pennycuick J in Simpsons Motors would have reasonably been charged out at approximately £480 per hour, and his hypothetical junior at a rate of approximately £240. I stress that I consider those rates are “top end” rates for criminal work: and, whilst I do not say that in another case they might not be exceeded – although, I suspect, not by very much – they take into account the especial experience and expertise of particularly eminent leading counsel, from which flows more efficient working than would be the case with less experienced and expert counsel.
With regard to solicitors’ charges, although designed for summary assessment in civil claims, the starting point is the guideline hourly rates for summary assessment.