21.08.2012Loizou v Gordon; Patsias  EWHC 90221 (Costs)
Key areas: RTA; Part 45; success fee, split trial; SCCO
This was an application to determine the success fee that should apply in a RTA.
The case was listed for a liability trial, with quantum still to be determined.
The First Defendant didn’t attend, nor did his witness. His Counsel attempted to have the matter adjourned, but it was refused. After a short break, liability was conceded, with costs to be paid to the Claimant and Second Defendant, and to be assessed after damages were agreed.
Under CPR 45, Part III, the Solicitors are entitled to a 100% success fee if the matter goes to “trial”; else it is 12.5%.
The First Defendant submitted that “trial” is a contested hearing, this would include a situation where the case starts and is then adjourned. It was submitted that this did not happen in this case, and so a 12.5% success fee applies.
The Second Defendant submitted that the Claimant was never at fault, and so their position on liability was always going to be brief, even if the adjournment had not occurred. He submitted that liability was a live issue, given that the application was been refused, and it had been called by the Judge, as was clear from the transcript. He also submitted that the First Defendant did not have to concede liability; he could have put the other parties to proof. As Counsel accepted liability, the costs consequences must also have been accepted.
The Court held that as all issues were on-going at the date of the trial, it had commenced before final settlement. As a result, a 100% success fee applies.
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