Lejonvarn v Burgess & Anor [2020] EWCA Civ 114

Speculative Claims, Indemnity Costs And The Effect Of An Approved Costs Budget

Following the dismissal of all claims by the High Court in this construction dispute, and an award of costs on the standard basis to the appellant (defendant), the Court of Appeal had to determine three issues, namely:

a) Whether it was a case in which the respondents’ pursuit of what were said to be “speculative, weak, opportunistic or thin claims” could properly be described as out of the norm such as to warrant an order for indemnity costs.

b) Whether the respondents’ failures to accept and subsequently to beat the appellant’s Part 36 offer, made at a very early stage in the proceedings, also meant (either separately or taken cumulatively with the pursuit of these particular claims) that an order for indemnity costs was warranted.

c) The relevance, if any, of the fact that the appellant’s approved costs budget was said to be £415,000, but that any assessment on the indemnity basis would start at the appellant’s actual costs figure of not less than £724, 265.