summary Keene v Ward [1849] EngR 1210

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Keene v Ward [1849] EngR 1210

 

The Facts

Appeal by the client against judgment for the plaintiff, a solicitor who had sued for his outstanding fees. The bill was for acting for the client/defendant in 12 different actions, where for 11 matters the bill disclosed the court that the actions were conducted in, and one whose items were for a smaller amount, did not. The client alleged that this rendered the entire bill invalid and sought to rely on Ivimey v Marks (supra).

The Decision

The Court held that Ivimey v Marks is distinguishable because in that case the client had insufficient information about in which jurisdiction to seek taxation, however in this case the client had that information because in ordinary course taxation is sought in the Court where the principal part of the business was done. Rule discharged.

Pattison J opined that:

“In requiring the delivery of an attorney’s bill, the Legislature intended that the client should have sufficient materials for obtaining advice as to taxation; and we think that we fulfil that intention by holding the present bill sufficient within that principle; whereas, if we required in respect of every item a precise exactness of form, we should go beyond the words and meaning of the statute, and should give facilities to dishonest clients to defeat just claims upon a pretence of a defect of form in respect of which they had no real interest.”

Conclusion

This case confirms that exactness of form is not required. What the Court was interested in was whether there is sufficient information for the client to know what he was being charged for, and in which Court the client should apply to for the costs to be assessed.

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