‘A Practical Guide to Solicitor and Client Costs – 2nd Edition’ by Robin Dunne


Paperback: 978-1-913715-39-7
Published: September 2020
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Fully updated to include the most recent and important developments in law and practice, this book is a practical guide setting out the main issues and challenges that arise when clients challenge their solicitor’s bill. Covering the rules, statutes, case law etc but also providing guidance as to terms of retainers as well as practical guidance on the process of assessing charges.

This area of law is complex and is still not well known by many solicitors or even non-specialist judges. Also, following LASPO and probable fixed costs extensions, clients are now far more likely to have to pay their own costs and challenges to solicitor’s fees are increasingly common. This book is written in a clear manner so that anyone from clients and trainees to partners and judges can benefit from it.

The text for the second edition has been fully expanded and updated to include numerous important High Court and Court of Appeal authorities handed down since the last edition was published.


Robin Dunne is a barrister at Gatehouse Chambers (formerly Hardwicke) specialising in costs and litigation funding, having focused exclusively on this area of law since call.

He was called to the bar in 2002 and was an employed barrister and partner in a City of London firm of solicitors before independent practice.

His practice includes between the parties and solicitor and client disputes as well as professional negligence claims involving solicitors, particularly where the dispute involves issues relating to costs.

Gatehouse Chambers


“At £29.99 it is a fraction of the hourly charging rate of most litigators. It will save hours of (probably irrecoverable) time and save hours of (definitely irrecoverable) sleep … I would advise most litigators to read it for ‘defensive’ purposes … the question is not ‘should I read it’ but ‘am I comfortable not reading it’. The answer is you probably aren’t.”
– Gordon Exall, Barrister at Zenith Chambers & Hardwicke, review of the first edition.


Chapter One – The Retainer
Written or Oral?
Cancellation of Contracts Regulations
Increases in the Hourly Rate
An Entire Contract
Naming the Client and Opponent
Restrictions on Recovery
Contentious and Non-Contentious Business Agreements
Damages Based Agreements
Conditional Fee Agreements
Termination of Retainers

Chapter Two – Estimates
The Golden Rules
Giving No Estimate
When Can a Solicitor Be Held to the Estimate?
Reliance Upon an Estimate
Budgets and Estimates

Chapter Three – Statute Bills
Bills on Account
Delivery Up
When Is a Bill Required?
The Formalities Under the Act
Requirements of a Statue Bill: Case Law
Finality of Statute Bills

Chapter Four – Interim Statute Bills
An Entire Contract
When Can a Solicitor Deliver an Interim Statute Bill?
Chamberlain Bills
Are the Bills Statute Bills?

Chapter Five – Applying for an Assessment
Date of Delivery
Special Circumstances
Who May Apply for an Assessment? Third Parties

Chapter Six – Procedure
Delivery Up of Documents
The Assessment
Attendance at the Assessment
The Basis of Assessment
The Costs of the Assessment

Chapter Seven – Alternatives to Assessments Under the Act
The Legal Ombudsman
Non-Statutory Assessments
Statutory Demands

Appendix A – Excerpts From the Solicitors Act 1974 (As Amended)

Appendix B – Selected Civil Procedure Rules