KHOO EE LIAM v. CHEN AUN LI, ANDREW

HCMP 3449/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

MISCELLANEOUS PROCEEDINGS NO. 3449 OF 2013

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BETWEEN

KHOO EE LIAM Applicant
and
CHEN AUN-LI, ANDREW Respondent

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Date of Summary Assessment of Costs: 22 October 2014

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SUMMARY ASSESSMENT OF COSTS

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1. On 23 May 2014, I made an order committing the respondent to prison to be there imprisoned until further order. I also orderedthe respondent to pay the costs of the contempt proceedings on an indemnity basis.

2. This is the summary assessment of the applicant’s costs.

3. I refer to the applicant’s statement of costs filed on 6 June 2014.

4. Firstly, since the costs are taxed on indemnity basis, I allow the hourly rates of the 2 fee-earners.

5. I allow the costs in item B relating to manual work in full.

6. Item C is about communications including conferences, telephone calls and letters. In my assessment, the fees charged in this itemare unreasonably high. In particular, I do not accept that the solicitors need to spend so much time engaging with communicationwith various parties, taking into account that there had all along been no appearance of the respondent to contest the application. I reduce the quantum to $75,000.

7. Item D is about professional work. For the time spent in the total of 39 hours in the preparation of documents in item D1, I takethe view that the time spent is very much excessive. In particular, the fee-earners are senior solicitors with considerable experience. I reduce the amount for item D1 by about 25% to $130,000.

8. I also find that the time spent in perusal of documents in item D2 excessive, and there may be duplication of work between the 2fee-earners. I reduce the amount by about 30% to $32,000.

9. I also cannot understand why the 2 fee-earners had to spend so much time in the preparation for hearings, in particular counselhad been retained and there had all along been no appearance of the respondent to contest the application. I reduce the quantumby about 50% to $38,000.

10. As counsel had been retained and there had all along been no appearance of the respondent to contest the application, I cannot understandwhy the solicitors had to engage 2 senior fee-earners to attend the hearings. That was unreasonable and so I only allow the applicantto claim for the fees of the higher fee-earner in the total sum of $15,000.

11. Item E is related to counsel’s fee. As I have allowed the solicitors to charge their fees on the basis that it was they who draftedthe documents, I allow counsel’s fee for settling the draft documents in the sum of $50,000. For the 2nd direction hearing on 9 April 2014, I only allow counsel to claim for half of the earlier brief fee in the sum of $30,000. I allowthe other items in full.

12. I allow all the amounts claimed in item F (Other Disbursements) in full.

13. In conclusion, I assess the applicant’s costs as follows:

Item B (Manual Work): $4,320
Item C (Communications): $75,000
Item D (Professional Work): $215,000
Item E (Counsel): $230,000
Item F (Other Disbursements) : $36,798.86
Total : $561,118.86
(David Lok)
Deputy High Court Judge