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Present: Lascelles CJ. and Middleton J.ABEYADEERA v. SOYSA et at.
75—D. C. Galley 2,948.
Bill of coats—Taxation—Reasonable notice must be given, to opposingproctor.
Before a bill of costs is taxed, the opposing proctor is entitled tohave a fair and reasonable notice of taxation.
HE facts appear sufficiently from the judgment of the ChiefJustice.
Bawa, for appellants.
Sampayo% K.C. (with him A, St, V, Jayewardene for respondent.
June 8, 1911. Lascelles C.J.—
In this case the difficulty that has occurred is owing to the factthat there are no rules regulating the procedure for the taxation ofcosts. The facta of the case are shortly as follows. The respon-dent’s proctor had prepared a bill of costs for a very large sum,namely, Rs. 9,333*33. On December 2 he handed the orginal billto the appellant’s proctor, and asked him to take notice of taxation.The appellants’ proctor asked for a copy of the bill in order that hemight communicate with his clients, who lived in Colombo. Hereceived a copy in the course of the same day, and it appears thatthe bill was taxed on that same day, without the appellants’-proctor
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having had an opportunity of making his objections to the itemsin the bill. The present appeal is from a refusal of the DistrictJudge to entertain an application for a review of taxation. In myopinion the appellants are clearly entitled to a review of taxation.If any rules had been framed with regard to the procedure on thetaxation of the bill of costs, the first thing would be to provide thatthe opposing proctor should have a fair and reasonable notice of thetaxation, in order to enable him to bring forward his objections atthe proper time. Section 214 of the Civil Procedure Code is silentas to the details of the procedure, but I think we are justified inassuming that the opposing proctor is entitled to-have a fair andreasonable notice of the taxation. Here it is obvious that he hadnot such a notice. The bill of costs was a very voluminous one,and from the fact that it has already been largely reduced on taxa-tion, it is clear that it was open to a good deal of objection. It isutterly unreasonable to expect a proctor to undertake the examina-tion of a bill of costs of this nature within a few hours. I think theappeal succeeds, and that the District Judge should be directed tohear the objections to the bill of costs, and I think that the appellantsare entitled to the costs of this appeal.
June 8, 1911
I agree. The practice that has prevailed is, to my mind, anextremely crude one, and it is remarkable that it seems to haveworked so well and with little objection up to the present time. Itseems to me that when a proctor desires to tax a bill of costs heserves a copy of it on the other proctor, who is then supposed to sign“ Received notice, ” and to formulate on that bill his objections to itand hand it back to the secretary for taxation. Here the proctorwas served with a copy of the bill, and only got it apparently onthe same day the bill of costs was taxed, and had no reasonableopportunity whatever of formulating any objections. I think,therefore, that here the case is a very much stronger one than thecase which came before us the other day from the District Court ofColombo. 39—D. C. Colombo, 27,522.
There is one other point that I should like to make an observationupon, that is, the District Judge has in his judgment referred toan unreported case, and has based his judgment on that case. Wehave not been referred to it, and we are not aware what the rulingof the Supreme Court there was. At first I thought it was a casereported in 3 Browne, but, at any rate, whatever may have beenthe ruling in that case which acted as a guide for the decision ofthe District Judge, it has not been relied upon by counsel for therespondent.
The appeal should be allowed with costs.
ABEYADEERA v. SOYSA et al