29.06.2009Seaga v Harper  UKPC 26
Key issues: ATE, Privy Council, success fee
This was a matter in the Privy Council on appeal from Jamaica.
Due to it being a Privy Council matter, the costs of the appeal were incurred within England. The dispute was over whether a success fee and ATE premium can be claimed in the Privy Council where domestic legislation did not allow these.
It was held that these would not be recoverable from the losing party and it would not be right for the Privy Council to make such a decision in the absence of domestic legislation providing for these to be recoverable.
26.06.2009The Owners, Demise Charters and Time Charterers of the Ship “Western Neptune” v The Owners and Demise Charterers of the Ship “Philadelphia Express”  EWHC 1522 (Admlty)
Key areas: shipping; apportionment of costs; both parties win some issues; High Court
The main action was a shipping case arising from a collision, with liability being determined in the Claimants’ favour on a 2/3 to 1/3 basis.
The Claimants submitted that they should be awarded the whole of their costs. The Defendants submitted that costs to be apportioned on the basis of liability, with costs relating to a separate issue on which they won be awarded in their favour.
The Defendants had made a formal offer at an early stage, albeit post-issue to settle liability on a 60:40 basis in the Claimants’ favour. Almost one year later, after the majority of the costs would have been incurred, the Claimant made a counter-offer to settle liability on an 80:20 basis in their favour.
The Court noted that the Claimants did beat the Defendants’ offer, but only by a small amount, and that liability was determined to be a lot nearer the Defendants’ offer than the Claimants’.
In the circumstances, the Court awarded the Claimants 65% of their costs and made no order in relation to the issue that the Defendants won. The Court also made an interim costs award of £250,000.00.
10.06.2009Roundstone Nurseries Ltd. v Stephenson Holdings Ltd.  EWHC 1431 (TCC)
Key issues: High Court, mediation, Pre-Action Protocol
In this case the parties underwent mediation, the costs of which would not normally be recoverable.
However, it was held that as the mediation was part of the Parties’ attempts to settle the matter under the Pre-Action Protocol, and because they had not agreed to bear their own costs, these became recoverable from the losing side.
10.06.2009Onay v Brown  EWCA Civ 775
Key issues: contributory negligence, Court of Appeal
These proceedings were concerned with the impact of contributory negligence on an order for costs.
The original action was a RTA. The Defendant made a Part 36 offer to settle liability on a 75:25 basis in the Claimant’s favour, which was accepted within the time limit.
At first instance, the Judge decided that the Defendant was in fact the Claimant in relation to contributory negligence and so the Claimant was to pay costs in relation to this issue.
On appeal it was held that the Claimant was clearly the winner in relation to liability and so was awarded costs on the liability issue.
03.06.2009Schwartz v Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court  EWHC 1397 (Admin)
Key issues: criminal, High Court, hourly rates, travelling and waiting
In the main proceedings the Claimant was found not guilty of the offence with which he was charged.
On taxation of the costs, the hourly rate was reduced in relation to travelling and waiting on the grounds that they “are not subject to the 50% uplift for care and conduct” which the hourly rate included.
On appeal, it was held that – not only was the rate reasonable but significantly lower than normal – the Defendant was wrong to reduce the hourly rate for travel and waiting and so the original rate was allowed.
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