Deutsche Bank Ag V Sebastian Holdings Inc

Deutsche Bank AG v Sebastian Holdings is a recent common law decision addressing the issue as to the approach in determining reasonable expert witness fees and the amount of detail required to be provided at assessment to assess the fees involved accurately.

Deutsche Bank AG was a case in which substantial costs were incurred following commercial litigation, where the Claimant obtained damages in the sum of £243m. The costs sought were in the total sum of £53m, of which £23m related to the Claimant’s expert accountant fees.

The Defendant’s submission was that they should not be held liable to pay the costs relating to the accountant’s fees as there was not enough information provided in order to explain how those fees had been calculated by the expert in question.

Master Gordon-Saker, Senior Costs Judge, held that the expert (in this case, accounting firm Deloitte) had no duty to record its time in a certain way, other than what was agreed between them and their client. Furthermore, the Master held that there was no duty on the Claimant to present the fees of their expert for assessment in any particular way, other than to fulfil their obligation under CPR47 PD 5.2(d) in providing written evidence in the form of invoices.