23.11.2010Greens & MT v UK – 60041/08  ECHR 1826
Key areas: Human Rights; hourly rates; ECtHR
The UK lost a claim in the European Court of Human Rights over breaches of art. 3, Protocol 1 European Convention on Human Rights over the refusal to allow prisoners to be added to the electoral roll, but successfully defended a claim over an alleged breach of art. 13.
Costs were claimed at £6,991.26 and £6,385.41.
In both cases, the UK submitted that both claims were excessive, given that they followed on from the case of Hirst v UK (no. 2) – 74025/01  ECHR 681 and the solicitors were not based in central London and, therefore, should be reduced to £3,000.00.
The Court agreed that the costs were excessive, given that one part of the claims were dismissed and the other had been conceded and awarded a total of €5,000.00, approx. £4,450.00.
23.11.2010R (Conservative & Unionist Party) v Election Commissioner & (1) Simmons (2) Slough Conservative Assoc.  EWCA Civ 1332
Key issues: Court of Appeal, election petition, non-party costs orders
In the main action, Simmons presented an election petition alleging corruption against another candidate, which was upheld and the losing party was ordered to pay her costs. Enforcement failed and so the Election Commissioner attempted to obtain a non-party costs order against the other parties to this action by adding them to the petition.
At first instance, it was held that this was not allowed in an election petition.
On appeal, Simmons argued that s. 51(1) Senior Courts Act 1981 and the Representation of the People Act 1983 did allow such an Order. However, this was rejected as such an order could only apply under s. 156 Representation of the People Act 1983 which was not the suggestion in this case.
17.11.2010Masri v Khoury  EWHC 90187 (Costs)
Key issues: co-Defendants, division of costs, SCCO
In the main action the Defendant won an Appeal in the Supreme Court over a contractual dispute case in which he was a co-Defendant with his brother. The co-Defendant did not appeal and so did not have an order for costs either in his favour or against him.
Both Defendants were represented by the same Solicitors and so were jointly for each other’s costs.
The Defendant had claimed all of his own costs, as well of all costs which related to both him and his co-Defendant.
This costs hearing was over a preliminary issue: whether the Defendant was able to do so, or was limited to only half of his costs.
The Court held that the Defendant could only claim half of the costs which were shared with the co-Defendant.
16.11.2010C v D and D2  EWHC 2940 (Ch)
Key issues: acceptance of offers, High Court, Part 36 offer, time-limited offers
The Claimant in this case made an offer which was open for a specified time period. The Defendant “accepted” the offer, but after the period had expired.
The case was concerned with whether the Claimant’s offer was a Part 36 offer.
The Claimant sought a declaration that it was not, and so the offer was no longer open for acceptance.
The Court held that the offer did not comply with CPR Part 36 and so there was no offer to accept.
11.11.2010Gray v Toner (Liverpool County Court 11/11/2010)
Key issues: CFA, County Court, interest on costs
The main action was a personal injury action which was funded by a CFA.
The Claimant obtained judgment on liability – and an order for costs was made in her favour – but it took a further 4 years to agree quantum.
On first instance, the Claimant was awarded 6 month’s interest on the liability issue – due to the Claimant delaying Detailed Assessment proceedings – with interest on the rest of the whole of the costs from the date of settlement.
The Defendant appealed over the date from which interest was to run: the date of the Judgment or the date from which costs were assessed. The Defendant submitted that because of their being a CFA in place, no payments had been made to the Claimant’s Solicitors and so no interest accrued.
In a departure from the usual position, the Judge held that he was entitled to use his discretion under CPR 40.8 to order that interest on costs only applied from when costs were assessed, not from the date of the Order awarding costs. This was justified on the basis that a CFA was in place and so the client had not actually paid anything to the Solicitors.
04.11.2010Fortune v Roe  EWHC 90180 (Costs)
Key issues: CFA, RTA, SCCO, success fee
The main action was a RTA involving a “head-on” collision.
Initially it was covered by BTE insurance but the indemnity limit was reached and so a CFA was taken out. The CFA stated that the success fee would be 25% if the case settled more than 3 months before trial, else it would be 100%.
A liability judgment was obtained prior to the CFA being entered into. The Claimant accepted a Part 36 offer within 3 months of trial.
This case was to determine the level of success fee.
The Defendant offered a 20% success fee, which was the amount allowed on assessment. It was held that was no real risk to the Claimant as the CFA was taken out after judgment was obtained.
04.11.2010Andrews v SBJ Benefit Consultants  EWHC 2875 (Ch)
Key areas: smaller party’s liability for costs; High Court
This was a case over a claim for damages under s. 150 Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 in relation to reviews of pensions.
However, the claim was dismissed.
In light of the dismissal, there was a discussion and ruling over costs issues arising.
The Claimant submitted that the Defendant should not be entitled to their costs because the claim was only issued because they didn’t comply with a non-binding recommendation of the Ombudsman; that the case resolved issues in the financial sector and the Claimant was a lot smaller than the Defendant.
These arguments were dismissed, respectively, because the Defendant was entitled to refuse to comply; that the case was private litigation and were irrelevant for the purposes of English costs law. Therefore, the Defendant was entitled to their costs.
The Defendant then applied for an interim payment of £65,000.00, which included VAT. The Court was unsure as to whether VAT could be claimed, but did not have any information to dispute it, and awarded interim costs of £24,000.00.
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