Robin is a specialist in costs and litigation funding. He has focused on this complex area of law since qualification and is recommended for costs litigation in both Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.
As well as his inter-partes practice Robin is a specialist in solicitor and client disputes and has been instructed in many of the leading cases dealing with this specialist area of costs law. In 2018 Robin’s book “A Practical Guide to Solicitor and Client Costs” was published, with an updated second edition released in August 2020.
He also acts in professional negligence claims involving solicitors, particularly where the dispute involves issues relating to costs.
Prior to independent practice, he was an employed barrister and partner in a City of London firm of solicitors.
In addition to his practice at the bar, he sits as a Tribunal Judge in the First Tier Tribunal (HESC).
Robin prides himself on combining a friendly manner with a commercially astute approach.
Areas of expertise
- Costs litigation
Robin is instructed by both paying and receiving parties in all issues relating to costs and is particularly sought after in cases which are unusual or involve novel points of law.
In addition to his inter-partes practice he has specialised in solicitor/client disputes for many years and has appeared in many of the leading cases in relation to this specialist area of the law.
He has appeared at all levels up to and including the court of appeal and has advised and made written submissions in respect of costs issues in supreme court cases.
The majority of his work in detailed assessments relates to six or seven figure bills of costs or cases involving points of principle. He is regularly instructed in test cases and on appeal (both first and second appeals).
Robin regularly speaks at industry conferences on costs.
Selected recent cases:
- Murray & Anor v Richard Slade and Company Ltd  EWHC 3383 (QB): High Court (QBD) appeal from the SCCO (where Robin also acted for the Claimant) concerning a solicitor and client dispute re: whether an oral agreement allowed for additional sums to be payable by the client and whether the solicitor had lawfully terminated the retainer.
- Edwards & Ors v Slater & Gordon UK Ltd  EWHC B19 (Costs): Disclosure and security for costs within solicitor and client assessment as well as consideration of whether a CFA providing for an indemnity as to costs was a contract of insurance.
- Raubenheimer v Slater & Gordon UK Ltd  EWHC B12 (Costs): The appropriateness of Part 18 questions involving ATE insurance within solicitor and client assessments and the status of the solicitor’s cash account.
- SGI Legal LLP v Karatysz  EWHC 1608 (QB): High Court appeal with PJ Kirby QC concerning solicitor and client costs (informed consent and the amount of a solicitor’s bill).
- Masters v Charles Fussell & Co LLP  EWHC B1 (Costs): Solicitor and client assessment concerning whether the client was able to have an assessment of bills totalling almost £1m and stretching back 8 years. Consideration of interim statute bills and CFAs, Chamberlain bills and special circumstances.
- Belsner v Cam Legal Services Ltd  EWHC 2755 (QB): With PJ Kirby QC. Leading judgment on appeal considering whether a client must give informed consent in respect of r.46.9(2).
- Oberholster v Little & Anor  EWHC 2635 (QB): Appeal to High Court (Freedman J) regarding the appropriate costs order to make where one defendant has accepted a part 36 offer but another has rejected it and wished to go to trial.
- Newman v Gordon Dadds LLP  EWHC B23 (Costs): Solicitor and client dispute concerning a solicitor who had failed to provide an adequate estimate of costs.
- Ainsworth v Stewarts Law  EWCA Civ 178: Robin successfully represented the Respondent in the court of appeal in this solicitor and client case concerning whether the judge was right to strike out points of dispute relating to document time that were not properly particularised. Robin also acted for the Respondent in the High Court appeal ( Costs LR 669).
- PME v The Scout Association  EWHC 3421 (QB) : Appeal to High Court (Stewart J) concerning the scope of an appeal from an authorised costs officer where a provisional assessment had been undertaken. Robin also acted in the first instance decision, reported at  EWHC B10 (Costs) which also dealt with the jurisdiction of costs officers to undertake provisional assessments.
- Badaei v Woodwards Solicitors  EWHC 1854 (QB): High Court appeal (O’Farrell J) dealing with whether, in a Solicitors Act claim, Part 7 recovery proceedings should be stayed pending resolution of Part 8 proceedings for detailed assessment under s 70 of the Act.
- Herbert v H H Law Ltd  EWCA Civ 527 – with PJ Kirby QC. Leading judgment on post LASPO success fees, risk assessment and whether ATE premiums are a solicitor’s disbursement.
- Vertannes v United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust  EWHC B18 (Costs)- Whether, where a CMO had been made and then a hearing listed for updated budgets to be considered, had the effect that that the bill of costs needed to be phased per the approved budget.
- Gill v Heer Manak Solicitors  EWHC 2881 (QB): Mr. Justice Walker. Appeal from Master Simons considering whether a firm had terminated the retainer with their client on reasonable notice.
- Woodland v Swimming Teachers’ Association and Others  3 Costs LR 469: Discontinuance under r.38, Bullock and Sanderson Orders and the appropriate apportionment of costs between multiple defendants.
- Hugh Cartwright & Amin v Devoy-Williams & Anor  EWHC 1692 (QB) – Davies J. Appeal from a costs judge’s decisions on hourly rates, counsel’s fees, set off and the costs of assessment.
- Annie Parvez v Mooney Everett Solicitors Ltd  EWHC 62 (QB): Mr. Justice Soole. Appeal in solicitor / client proceedings concerning a client’s right to elect to accept delivery of a bill where there were alleged breaches of the solicitors’ accounts rules.
- Richard Slade & Company Solicitors v Boodia & Anor  EWHC 2699 (QB): Mrs. Justice Slade. Appeal from a costs judge on the question of whether partial bills (containing only profit costs) could stand as interim statute bills. Also consideration of whether such bills could form a ‘Chamberlain’ bill.
- Mitchell v Gilling-Smith  EWHC B18 (Costs). Whether an ATE in a post LASPO Clinical negligence claim was reasonable and proportionate.
- Vivienne Jago v Whitbread Group PLC (2016) Lawtel: Master Whalan SCCO. Acting for the paying party in an application to disallow costs under CPR r.44.11. 50% of the claimant’s assessed costs disallowed due to her solicitor’s improper and unreasonable conduct in the detailed assessment proceedings.
- Rahimian & Anor v Allan Janes LLP  EWHC B18 (Costs): Senior Costs Judge Gordon-Saker. Solicitor and client assessment. Consideration of ‘Chamberlain’ bills and when the client must be in a position to consider whether to have the bills assessed.
- Vlamaki v Sookias & Sookias  EWHC 3334 (QB): Mr. Justice Walker. Appeal following a solicitor and client assessment. Whether a retainer allowed the solicitors to render interim statute bills.
- French v Carter Lemon Camerons  1 Costs LO 107: Mrs. Justice Swift. Relief from sanctions following a failure to serve a statement of means in a High Court costs appeal.
- French v Carter Lemon Camerons  EWHC 3442 (QB) Mrs. Justice Swift. Whether permission should be granted to use disclosure in a linked professional negligence claim in an appeal against detailed assessment. Also consideration of the use of Part 18 requests in an appeal.
- Insurance coverage
Robin acts for and against ATE and LEI insurers in disputes over policy coverage in addition to his costs practice (which involves the challenging or recovery of premiums).
Recent instructions include:
- Acting for and advising an ATE insurer where a solicitor refused to pay the premium, arguing that the case had not been ‘won’ under the terms of the policy. The full premium was recovered following mediation.
- Advising an ATE insurer who was refusing to indemnify their policy holder due to alleged breaches of the policy terms by their solicitor.
- Instructed by an LEI insurer to resist indemnity where the panel solicitor had not complied with the reporting requirements in the insurer’s terms of appointment.
- Acting for an LEI insurer where the successful defendant was arguing that the insurer should pay wasted costs despite being entitled to rely upon QOWCS.
- Legal professionals
Having been a partner in a firm of solicitors for a number of years, Robin has first-hand knowledge of the working practices and obligations of solicitors.
He acts and advises in professional negligence claims involving solicitors and has particular expertise in claims which involve costs issues or disputes or where there is a combination of allegations of negligence and disputed fees.
His recent experience includes:
- Acting in a six figure claim for a client involving complex issues of negligence and a concurrent Solicitors Act litigation (settled following mediation)
- Advising an LEI insurer in relation to alleged professional negligence of their panel firm involving property litigation.
- Acting in a high value High Court claim between solicitor and client involving a counter claim for professional negligence (listed for a 5 day trial).
- Instructed in a direct access case in the High Court for a client against their solicitor where there are multiple applications / appeals including allegations of negligence against the solicitor.
Robin is recommended for Costs Litigation by Legal 500 and Chambers UK.
- “Highly skilled, knowledgeable and down to earth, he’s absolutely excellent from a technical point of view.” (Chambers UK)
- “Has a thumping costs practice.” (Legal 500)
- “His command of the law is superb and he’s supremely assured when on his feet.” (Chambers UK)
- “He is technically sound, ensures he is fully prepared and is incredibly pragmatic.” (Legal 500)
- Essential Guide to Civil Costs & Litigation Funding
- A Practical Guide to Solicitor and Client Care Costs
- BA (Hons) University of London
- PG Dip Law, City University
- BVC, Inns of Court School of Law
- Mediator, CIArb
- Judge of the First Tier Tribunal