Date  Headline

  • 19.12.2012
    British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC; British Sky Broadcasting Ltd.; Sky Subscribers Services Ltd.; Sky In-Home Service Ltd. v Digital Satellite Warranty Cover Ltd. (in liquidation); Nationwide Digital Satellite Warranty Services Ltd. (in liquidation); Freeman; Sullivan; Marrow; Steele t/a Daltons Data; Waters t/a London Data; Sibbald; Reynolds ( in bankruptcy); Lee [2012] EWHC 3679 (Ch)
    • Key areas: liability for costs; Basis of assessment; apportionment of costs; High Court

      This hearing was to determine issues that were outstanding in a main action, including costs.

      The Claimants had succeeded against the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Tenth Defendants, but failed against the Sixth to Ninth Defendants.

      The case against the First and Second Defendants was adjourned pending an appeal against whether they were to be wound-up.

      The Claimants submitted that they should be awarded all of their costs on the Indemnity Basis.

      The Third and Fourth Defendants accepted they were liable for the Claimants’ costs, but the Standard Basis should apply.  They also accepted they were liable for the Claimants’ costs against the Sixth and Eighth Defendants, and also those against the Seventh and Ninth Defendants up to 6th January 2012.

      The Fifth Defendant accepted that he was liable for the Claimants costs, but only those against him, again on the Standard Basis.

      The Sixth Defendant stated that the Claimants should pay his costs, with a discount for his dishonest case, or both parties should bear their own costs.  He also stated that he should not be liable for those costs against the Eighth Defendant.

      The Seventh and Eighth Defendants did not take part in the hearing.

      The Ninth Defendant submitted that he was entitled to all of his costs on the Indemnity Basis.

      The Tenth Defendant did not make any submissions.

      The Court noted that it found the Sixth and Seventh Defendants, while successful, had been dishonest.  The Claimant submitted that the Sixth Defendant should pay their costs due to his conduct.  The Sixth Defendant submitted that he should get his costs, subject to a discount.  The Court ordered that due to his conduct he should pay the Claimants’ costs incurred against him on the Indemnity Basis.

      The Claimant accepted that they were liable for the Ninth Defendant’s costs, but the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Defendants should pay them because he was only sued due to their dishonesty.  The Ninth Defendant stated that the Claimants should pay his costs, and from 25th April 2012 they should be on the Indemnity Basis because they acted unreasonably from this date.  The Court rejected this, noting that it appeared he only wanted his costs should the Claimants pay them, and awarded his costs on the Standard Basis with the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Defendants to ultimately pay them.

      The Third and Fourth Defendants submitted that the Indemnity Basis was not appropriate in the circumstances, but this was rejected due to their conduct.  They were also held to be liable for the Claimants’ costs against the Seventh and Ninth Defendants, with no order for the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Defendants’ own costs.

      Based on his conduct the Fifth Defendant was ordered to pay the Claimants’ costs on the Indemnity Basis.

      The Seventh Defendant was ordered to contribute towards the costs payable by the Third and Fourth Defendants to the Ninth Defendant, and to pay the Claimants’ costs against him on the Indemnity Basis.

      No order for costs was made in relation to the Eighth Defendant given his general lack of involvement in the case.

      The Tenth Defendant was ordered to pay the Claimants’ costs against him on the Standard Basis.

      It was then agreed that any joint liability for costs should be apportioned on a time-basis between the parties to the proceedings at any one point in time.

  • 13.12.2012
    Bank of Scotland v Qutb [2012] EWCA Civ 1661
    • Key areas: personal liability for costs; maintenance; party’s conduct; Indemnity Basis; Basis of assessment; Court of Appeal

      The Appellant’s applied for an Order that the Respondent be personally liable for costs incurred in a set of proceedings.  This was done on the ground that the Court had held the he had deceived the Court and the Respondent into believing that he was acting on behalf of another party.

      The Appellant submitted that on the basis of an agent, the Respondent could be held liable for a breach of an implied representation of authority, and that caselaw making solicitors liable in this manner could be extended as a matter of principle.

      The Court held that he was liable under s. 51(3) Senior Courts Act 1981 and CPR 48.2.  the Court stated that he had “maintained the trial” for “his own personal benefit” and had made “false representations” that the party who he claimed to represent was alive, even though she was deceased.

      The Court held that he was liable for the costs of the main action; an application to strike-out the claim; and this hearing, where they could not be obtained from the Defendant, on the Indemnity Basis.

  • 12.12.2012
    Brown-Quinn; Webster Dixon LLP v Equity Syndicate Management Ltd.; Motorplus Ltd. [2012] EWCA Civ 1633
    • Key areas: legal expenses insurance; panel solicitors; non-panel solicitors; Court of Appeal

      This was an appeal concerning whether Legal Expenses Insurers could limit a person’s freedom of choice so that only solicitors on their panel could be instructed.  The claim was based under art. 198-205 of EU Directive 2009/108/EC and the Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990.

      The First Respondent wanted to instruct the Second Respondent to act in an employment claim, under her LEI policy.

      The Second Respondent was not on the Insurers’ panel, and was offered a rate of £125/hr under the Insurers’ general terms.  The Second Respondent rejected this.

      The Respondents sought a declaration that they could claim rates higher than the panel rates, which at first instance, was accepted, but the penal rates were held to be a useful comparator on assessment.

      The Insurers’ general terms stated that “We may choose not to accept the choice of representative”.  At first instance they refused to allow Webster Dixon to be instructed; then they stated that if so, that Webster Dixon could not charge anything, not even the panel rates; they also stated that they could only cover cases where a solicitor moves from one firm to another.

      However, the Court held that given the wording of the Directive, the initial agreement of the solicitor, and Insurers’ general terms, the Insurers had to pay non-panel rates “but no more”.

  • 11.12.2012
    Webb Resolutions Ltd. v Waller Needham & Green (a firm) [2012] EWHC 3529 (Ch)
    • Key areas: Pre-Action Protocol; party’s conduct; High Court

      This was a hearing to determine costs following the acceptance on 23rd May 2012 of a Part 36 offer dated 17th May 2011.

      The Claimant submitted that it was entitled to all of its costs, even the offer was accepted out-of-time.

      The Defendant submitted that it should be awarded it costs from 21 days after the offer was made or that the Claimant should only be awarded costs up to 12th January 2011 due to non-compliance with the relevant Pre-Action Protocol regarding disclosure of documents.

      The Court held that given the clear importance to the Defendant’s case of the documents, any Claimant would have disclosed them as soon as possible, but they refused to do so.  In addition, their refusal to disclose further documents until liability was admitted “was clearly acting well outside the letter and spirit of the Protocol”.

      As a result, the Court held the Claimant should have its costs up to 17th June 2011 (the date that the Claimant’s Part 36 offer expired) with the Defendant awarded its costs afterwards.

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