Key Points / Authorities
- In determining the extent to which pre action costs can be recovered in a subsequent civil claim there were at least three “strands of reasoning” to be applied: that of proving of use and service in the action; that of relevance to an issue; and that of attributability to the paying parties’ conduct: re Gibson’s Settlement Trusts  1 Ch.179 (“the Gibson principles”)
” Costs of attendance at an inquest are not incapable of being recoverable as costs incidental to subsequent civil proceedings. Nor does this give rise to any unprincipled approach – because the relevant principles, as conveniently set out in Gibson, are available to be applied by Costs Judges in a way appropriate to the circumstances of each case. It may also be remembered that Clarke J in fact disallowed some of the costs relating to the inquest claimed as costs incidental to the civil proceedings (the overall approach illustrating just how important the factor of relevance is). Mr Westgate in fact was, I think entitled to observe – as he did – that it was open in the instant case to the Home Office likewise to seek to avoid or minimise any potential liability for such costs here by admitting liability prior to the inquest. He and Mr Post were also entitled to observe that the inquests here in practice seem to have had the effect of causing the civil proceedings thereafter relatively speedily (and thereby in a way saving of some costs) to be compromised.”
The decision firmly establishes that the costs of attendance at and participation in inquests may, subject to relevance and the usual principles of reasonableness and proportionality, be recoverable in civil proceedings.