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Master Gordon-Saker to be Senior Costs Judge

Royal Courts of Justice [1]

Master Gordon-Saker defended post-Jackson regime

An experienced taxing master, Andrew Gordon-Saker, has been chosen to replace Peter Hurst as Senior Costs Judge.

Master Gordon-Saker was called to the Bar in 1981, became a deputy costs judge in 1994 and a costs judge in 2003. He will take over as Senior Costs Judge on 1 October.

A valedictory event for Master Hurst, who presided over the the Senior Court Costs Office (SCCO) for 22 years, was held earlier this week in Court 4 of the Royal Courts of Justice.

Speaking at the Jaggards and Taylor Rose Law costs and litigation conference earlier this month, Master Gordon-Saker defended the operation [2]of the new Jackson-inspired provisional assessment regime for cases with costs of up to £75,000.

He said it was “not as problematic as many had predicted” for the SCCO, and there was a “steady flow” of cases.

Master Haworth, another member of the SCCO, said the previous week that the provisional assessment regime “just hasn’t happened”.

Ruling in Harrison & Anor v Black Horse in January this year, Master Gordon-Saker refused relief [3] even though he accepted that the solicitors involved had intended to serve it and may have actually done so.

He described the ruling as “harsh, particularly given my view that the failure was not intentional”, and admitted it was “a failure of form rather than substance”.

The appointment process for the new Senior Costs Judge began in April for the role [4], which pays £130,875.

Master Hurst, a costs judge since 1981 and the Senior Costs Judge since 1992, will retire on 30 September.

The Senior Costs Judge has the day-to-day management and leadership of the costs judges, deputy costs judges and the SCCO. The most complex and/or high-value cases are assigned to the Senior Costs Judge.

The appointment was made by the Queen, on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, and Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas.

In a separate development, it was announced this morning that The Queen has approved four new appointments to the Court of Appeal – Mrs Justice King, Mr Justice Sales, Mr Justice Bean and Mr Justice Burnett.

This follows the retirement of lord justices Moses, Rimer, Goldring and Maurice Kay.