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Thomas Samuels for Gough Square

Thomas Samuels, Barrister, Gough Square Chambers
 
In what circumstances were you able to obtain a pro bono cost order? 
In a case involving a Turkish woman facing a summary judgment application in a repossession claim brought by a second-charge mortgage lender. If the lender’s application had been successful she would have lost her family home (NRAM Ltd v Sibel Ciftci).
 
How did you hear about pro bono cost orders?
Through the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
 
How easy was the process? 
“My instructions from the Bar Pro Bono Unit included information on applying for a pro bono costs order under CPR 46.7 and a suggested form of wording. The district judge was unfamiliar with the provision but, having considered it, was very happy to order the lender to pay a sum equivalent to my brief fee to The Access to Justice Foundation.”
 
How much money did you raise from the pro bono cost order?
£1,000

Kathryn Purkis for Serle Court

Kathryn Purkis, Barrister, Serle Court Chambers
 
In what circumstances were you able to obtain a pro bono cost order? 
Assisting a retired lady who was facing the prospect of having to sell her home to meet an obligation for which she was being sued. The claim was being brought by the executors of her late uncle’s estate; they had assumed that the estate was worth much more than it actually turned out to be and had as a result gifted her a house. They were suing their solicitors for negligence but the solicitors required them to claim the value of the excess distribution, to mitigate loss (Webster & Spain v K&L Gates & Sally Dutton).
 
How did you hear about pro bono cost orders? 
Via the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
 
How easy was the process? 
“The judge was all too happy to exercise his jurisdiction to make a pro bono costs order, and in fact granted an order for detailed assessment if the amount could not be agreed. I then negotiated with the paying party on behalf of the Access to Justice Foundation, whilst keeping them informed about what I felt could be claimed, and what was a reasonable offer.”
 
How much money did you raise from the pro bono cost order?
Just under £20,000. This also included some work by the solicitor who referred the matter to the unit and remained involved in the case.

Katarina Sydow for Outer Temple

Katarina Sydow, Barrister, Outer Temple Chambers
 
In what circumstances were you able to obtain a pro bono cost order? 
Whilst representing a nurse in a statutory appeal in the High Court against a fitness to practise decision by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.  The nurse was suspended from the register so was unable to work and had no money to pay a lawyer (Warren v Nursing and Midwifery Council).
 
How did you hear about pro bono cost orders? 
“I received instructions via the Bar Pro Bono Unit and, having taken on cases via the Unit before, was aware that counsel are encouraged to seek pro bono costs orders where appropriate.”
 
How easy was the process? 
“I read the quick guide prepared by the Access to Justice Foundation, included a request for a pro bono costs order in my skeleton argument and filed a statement of costs prior to the hearing setting out my likely brief fee if the case had been privately paid.  When we were successful my opponent accepted that costs should follow the event and the Judge made the order I sought.  The process was no more complex than seeking costs in any other case and I’m glad to know the money went to a very worthwhile cause.”
 
How much money did you raise from the pro bono cost order?
£2,350

Matthew Morrison for Serle Court

Matthew Morrison, Barrister, Serle Court Chambers
 
In what circumstances were you able to obtain a pro bono cost order?
In a retrial of a claim by a large high street bank for breaches of overdraft facilities on the basis of inappropriate accounting following the disclosure of new evidence (Dixon v Santander).
 
How did you hear about pro bono cost orders?
Through the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
 
How much money did you raise from the pro bono cost order?
£22,500

Christina Michalos for 5RB

Christina Michalos, Barrister, 5RB Chambers
 
In what circumstances were you able to obtain a pro bono cost order? 
In a defamation case involving Facebook posts:
(Howell v Braithwaite)
 
 “My client, the defendant, thought she had been blocked from posting a photograph of a white reggae singer on a group page devoted to black culture. She had queried this with the page owner via a Facebook post. He had extrapolated from this an allegation of racism against him…The matter spiralled. The page owner brought defamation proceedings against her.  I appeared at two hearings; the first was the initial instruction to have judgment in default set aside and the second was a strike out application. The case was struck out because it was held there was no defamation.”
 
How did you hear about pro bono cost orders?
From the Bar Pro Bono Unit Newsletter.
 
How easy was the process?
“I was successful at both hearings and applied for a pro bono costs order after each hearing. At the hearing when judgment in default was set aside, I obtained an order for Defendant’s costs in the case summarily assessed. This meant the Access to Justice Foundation would benefit if ultimately the Defendant won the whole case… There was no difficulty at all in obtaining a pro bono costs order and it was quite straightforward to persuade the Judge it was appropriate in that case. CPR 46.7 is all you need… The personal sense of satisfaction is an added bonus!”
 
How much money did you raise from the pro bono cost order?
£2,400

Christine Howard for Weil

Christine Howard, Chartered Legal Executive, Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP
 
In what circumstances were you able to obtain a pro bono cost order? 
In a case involving a claimant who had signed over her mortgage-free property because of duress (Groves v Stylianou).
 
How did you hear about pro bono cost orders?
Just general knowledge.
 
How easy was the process?
“There were a number of applications to the Court and pro bono costs orders were made on three separate occasions… We worked on the basis that the summary statement of costs should be prepared and filed as if the client was a paying client and not being represented on a pro bono basis.”
 
How much money did you raise from the pro bono cost order?
£39,331

Adam Kramer for 3 Verulam Buildings

Adam Kramer, Barrister, 3 Verulam Buildings
 
In what circumstances were you able to obtain a pro bono cost order?
Resisting a summary dismissal application and obtaining specific disclosure for the claimant, an elderly Afghani lady, on her claim for around £70,000 said to have been fraudulently obtained from her (Jalazadeh v Hakime).
 
How did you hear about pro bono cost orders?
Through the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
 
How easy was the process?
“Obtaining the costs order was as simple as mentioning the relevant CPR provision in the skeleton and including the Pro Bono Unit’s suggested wording in the draft order. There was no push-back from the district judge at all.”
 
How much money did you raise from the pro bono cost order?
£2,000