Paul Joseph, a member of the Commercial and Chancery Group at No5 Chambers, has secured an important victory for Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills in an appeal from the decision of a Costs Master. The appeal concerned a point of principle and practice concerning the effect of offers made pursuant to CPR Part 47.19.
The Secretary of State made an offer pursuant to CPR Part 47.19 of £85,000 to settle the Claimant’s bill of costs prior to the commencement of detailed assessment proceedings. The Claimant rejected that offer and the detailed assessment proceedings were heard a year later, over 5 days. The bill, which had been claimed at £140,000, was assessed, including interest, at £86,176, thereby meaning that the Claimant had beaten the offer by £1,176. 
The Costs Master ordered the Claimant to pay the Secretary of State’s costs of the detailed assessment proceedings from 21 days after the offer of £85,000 had been made. The Claimant appealed that exercise of discretion.
The appeal was heard by HHJ Cooke and Paul appeared for the Secretary of State, instructed by the Treasury Solicitor. The Judge accepted Paul’s argument that CPR Part 47.19 was quite different to CPR Part 36.14 and contained a much wider discretion. The Costs Master was required to take the offer of £85,000 into account and it was a matter for him as to the weight to be attached to it and as to the effect that it had had on the matter. The decision made by the Master was well within the bounds permitted to him and the appeal was dismissed. 
The case is reported as Rangos –v- Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills and Another Lawtel 24/04/2012.