01279 755552

McDonnell, Nick

Director, Costs Lawyer



Office address

Peter House,
Oxford Street,
M1 5AN

DD: 0161 932 1097
Fax: 0161 601 3539
DX: 303431 Manchester


0161 932 1090

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Role & Responsibilities

Nick McDonnell is a Costs Lawyer and a Director with Kain Knight (North & Midlands) Ltd.

Nick graduated from Cambridge University in 1998 and subsequently went into the law practicing civil litigation with a solicitors’ firm in Lancashire where he also took up an interest in costs.

Since then, Nick has become an expert in his field conducting high value and complex costs matters as well as delivering technical and practical training to firms of solicitors throughout England and Wales.

Nick continues to enjoy handling a complex caseload, with an emphasis on Commercial, Intellectual Property, Civil and Catastrophic Injury litigation, including costs management & budgeting, detailed assessment proceedings, as well as conducting appeals up to the Court of Appeal and assessments pursuant to the Solicitors Act 1974. Nick also has extensive experience as an advocate at costs hearings (even appearing in the Court of Appeal before Lord Justice Jackson) and is a qualified mediator.

Notable Cases

  • West & Demouilpied v Stockport NHS Foundation Trust [2019] EWCA Civ 1220 (17 July 2019) – A successful and important appeal where court gave guidance on the correct approach to challenges made by paying parties to the reasonableness and proportionality of after-the-event insurance premiums sought to be recovered by successful claimants in clinical negligence cases.  They also have general guidance on the general application of the ‘new’ proportionality  test on costs in practice.
  • Khaira & Ors v Shergill & Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 1687 – A successful appeal finding that an order made by the Supreme Court that one party should pay the other’s costs both in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal did not entitle the receiving party to an immediate assessment of the Court of Appeal costs, on the basis that the substantive claim was proceeding to trial.
  • Stone Rowe Brewer LLP v Just Costs Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 1168 – A ground breaking successful appeal concerning the interpretation of the one-fifth rule in Solicitors Act 1974 detailed assessment proceedings. Specifically, the Court of Appeal considered the interpretation of special circumstances for the purpose of the s. 70(10) of the Act.
  • McDaniel & Co v Clarke [2014] EWHC 3826 (QB) – A successful appeal in Solicitors Act 1974 detailed assessment proceedings concerning the requirement to investigate alternative methods of funding before advising a lay client to enter into a Conditional Fee Agreement.
  • Porbanderwalla v Daybridge Ltd [2014] (Birmingham County Court, 30.01.14) – A successful appeal concerning the requirements to file costs budgets pursuant to CPR.r.26.3 and the sanctions set out at CPR.r.3.13.


  • Nick is a member of the ACL.
  • He is also a member of CADR.


Outside of work, Nick has two daughters aged 6 and 7.  He enjoys reading (sci-fi and fantasy), listening to jazz, playing the guitar and the drums and travelling to Mallorca (his favourite place to be when not working!)

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