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Robin Dunne
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His knowledge of the law is excellent and he has a pragmatic, commercial approach


He is technically sound, ensures he is fully prepared and is incredibly pragmatic

Legal 500

Robin is a specialist in costs and litigation funding. He has focused on this complex area of law since qualification and is recommended for costs litigation in both Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.

As well as his inter-partes practice Robin is a specialist in solicitor and client disputes and has been instructed in many of the leading cases dealing with this specialist area of costs law.  In 2018 Robin’s book “A Practical Guide to Solicitor and Client Costs” was published, with an updated second edition released in August 2020.

He also acts in professional negligence claims involving solicitors, particularly where the dispute involves issues relating to costs.

Prior to independent practice, he was an employed barrister and partner in a City of London firm of solicitors.

In addition to his practice at the bar, he sits as a Tribunal Judge in the First Tier Tribunal (HESC).

Robin prides himself on combining a friendly manner with a commercially astute approach

Costs Litigation

Robin is instructed by both paying and receiving parties in all issues relating to costs and is particularly sought after in cases which are unusual or involve novel points of law.

Robin’s practice covers both inter-partes and solicitor/client disputes. The majority of his work in detailed assessments relates to six or seven figure bills of costs or cases involving points of principle.

In addition to his busy advocacy practice, Robin also has a significant “paper” practice dealing with advices on points of law, likely awards of costs and costs issues generally; written submissions on costs following judgment; pleadings including Part 7 and Part 8, applications, Part 18 questions, notice and grounds of appeal, skeleton arguments. Unusually for counsel, Robin has extensive experience of drafting points of dispute and replies.

His costs practice covers

  • Detailed assessment hearings
    Appeals (both first and second appeals)
    • Costs budgeting
    • Costs of very high value Cat PI claims
    • Costs in clinical negligence claims
    • Fixed costs disputes (MOJ and PCR)
    • Points of law
    • Test cases
    • Solicitor /client disputes
    • Success fees and ATE disputes
    • Interlocutory hearings regarding costs issues such as default costs certificates, interim payments
    • Relief from sanctions applications
    • Costs involving Legal Expense Insurers
  • Disputes involving fraud

Selected Recent Cases:

  • Ainsworth v Stewarts Law [2020] EWCA Civ 178: Robin successfully represented the Respondent in the court of appeal in this solicitor and client case concerning whether the judge was right to strike out points of dispute relating to document time that were not properly particularised.  Robin also acted for the Respondent in the High Court appeal ([2019] Costs LR 669).
  • PME v The Scout Association [2019] EWHC 3421 (QB) : Appeal to High Court (Stewart J) concerning the scope of an appeal from an authorised costs officer where a provisional assessment had been undertaken. Robin also acted in the first instance decision, reported at [2019] EWHC B10 (Costs) which also dealt with the jurisdiction of costs officers to undertake provisional assessments.
  • Badaei v Woodwards Solicitors [2019] EWHC 1854 (QB): High Court appeal (O’Farrell J) dealing with whether, in a Solicitors Act claim, Part 7 recovery proceedings should be stayed pending resolution of Part 8 proceedings for detailed assessment under s 70 of the Act.
  • Herbert v H H Law Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 527 – with PJ Kirby QC.  Leading judgment on post LASPO success fees, risk assessment and whether ATE premiums are a solicitor’s disbursement.
  • Vertannes v United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust [2018] EWHC B18 (Costs)- Whether, where a CMO had been made and then a hearing listed for updated budgets to be considered, had the effect that that the bill of costs needed to be phased per the approved budget.
  • Gill v Heer Manak Solicitors [2018] EWHC 2881 (QB):  Mr. Justice Walker.  Appeal from Master Simons considering whether a firm had terminated the retainer with their client on reasonable notice.
  • Woodland v Swimming Teachers’ Association and Others [2018] 3 Costs LR 469: Discontinuance under r.38, Bullock and Sanderson Orders and the appropriate apportionment of costs between multiple defendants.
  • Hugh Cartwright & Amin v Devoy-Williams & Anor [2018] EWHC 1692 (QB) – Davies J.  Appeal from a costs judge’s decisions on hourly rates, counsel’s fees, set off and the costs of assessment.
  • Annie Parvez v Mooney Everett Solicitors Ltd [2018] EWHC 62 (QB): Mr. Justice Soole. Appeal in solicitor / client proceedings concerning a client’s right to elect to accept delivery of a bill where there were alleged breaches of the solicitors’ accounts rules.
  • Richard Slade & Company Solicitors v Boodia & Anor [2017] EWHC 2699 (QB): Mrs. Justice Slade. Appeal from a costs judge on the question of whether partial bills (containing only profit costs) could stand as interim statute bills. Also consideration of whether such bills could form a ‘Chamberlain’ bill.
  • Conibear v Humphries Kirk Solicitors (2017) Lawtel: Master Rowley SCCO. Whether an invoice rendered to a client by a solicitor was a final statute bill.
  • Mitchell v Gilling-Smith [2017] EWHC B18 (Costs). Whether an ATE in a post LASPO Clinical negligence claim was reasonable and proportionate.
  • Vivienne Jago v Whitbread Group PLC (2016) Lawtel: Master Whalan SCCO. Acting for the paying party in an application to disallow costs under CPR r.44.11. 50% of the claimant’s assessed costs disallowed due to her solicitor’s improper and unreasonable conduct in the detailed assessment proceedings.
  • Rahimian & Anor v Allan Janes LLP [2016] EWHC B18 (Costs): Senior Costs Judge Gordon-Saker. Solicitor and client assessment. Consideration of ‘Chamberlain’ bills and when the client must be in a position to consider whether to have the bills assessed.
  • Vlamaki v Sookias & Sookias [2015] EWHC 3334 (QB): Mr. Justice Walker. Appeal following a solicitor and client assessment. Whether a retainer allowed the solicitors to render interim statute bills.
  • French v Carter Lemon Camerons [2015] 1 Costs LO 107: Mrs. Justice Swift. Relief from sanctions following a failure to serve a statement of means in a High Court costs appeal.
  • French v Carter Lemon Camerons [2014] EWHC 3442 (QB) Mrs. Justice Swift. Whether permission should be granted to use disclosure in a linked professional negligence claim in an appeal against detailed assessment. Also consideration of the use of Part 18 requests in an appeal.

Insurance Coverage

Robin acts for and against ATE and LEI insurers in disputes over policy coverage in addition to his costs practice (which involves the challenging or recovery of premiums).

Recent instructions include:

  • Acting for and advising an ATE insurer where a solicitor refused to pay the premium, arguing that the case had not been ‘won’ under the terms of the policy. The full premium was recovered following mediation.
  • Advising an ATE insurer who was refusing to indemnify their policy holder due to alleged breaches of the policy terms by their solicitor.
  • Instructed by an LEI insurer to resist indemnity where the panel solicitor had not complied with the reporting requirements in the insurer’s terms of appointment.
  • Acting for an LEI insurer where the successful defendant was arguing that the insurer should pay wasted costs despite being entitled to rely upon QOWCS.


  • One of the few genuine costs specialists at the Bar – an assured and practical approach combined with excellent client service and an in-depth knowledge (Client)
  • A very skilled advocate and his knowledge of costs law and procedure is very impressive (Client)
  • He has a pragmatic and commercial approach (Client)

Directory Recommendations

Robin is recommended for Costs Litigation by Legal 500 and Chambers UK.

Does a hell of a lot of costs work” and “can handle sensitive and time-pressured instructions.” (Chambers UK)

“Has a thumping costs practice.”  (Legal 500)

He is technically sound, ensures he is fully prepared and is incredibly pragmatic.(Legal 500)


  • Essential Guide to Civil Costs & Litigation Funding
  • A Practical Guide to Solicitor and Client Care Costs


  • BA (Hons) University of London
  • PG Dip Law, City University
  • BVC, Inns of Court School of Law
  • Mediator, CIArb
  • Judge of the First Tier Tribunal