HAMMOND V SIG PLC & SUBSIDIARY COMPANIE [2019] EWHC B7 (COSTS)

Fixed costs under Section III of CPR 45: is there any escape?

This was the latest in a series of unsuccessful attempts to escape fixed costs as governed by Section IIIA of CPR 45 by reason of exceptional circumstances under CPR 45.29J. The claimant’s solicitors argued that it had been the claimant’s intention from the outset to pursue the claim outside the Portal. They had initially sent the defendant a letter of claim and only later added the claim to the Portal at the defendant’s insistence in order to progress matters, saying that “the Defendant refused to consider the matter unless a Portal submission was made”.

Ferri v Gill [2019] EWHC 952 (QB) (17 April 2019)

Master wrong to set a “low bar” to escaping fixed costs

A Master (sitting as deputy costs judge) was wrong to set a “low bar” when determining whether a case had met the “exceptional circumstances” threshold in CPR 45.29J for the purpose of escaping fixed costs. The matter had started in the portal but later exited when it was discovered that the impact of the claimant’s injuries was greater than had been initially thought. It ultimately settled for £42,000. The Master determined that the case was “on balance outside the general run of such cases” that entered the portal and as such cleared the “low bar” of exceptionality. Mr Justice Stewart overturned this decision.

s68(2) Solicitors Act 1974

Master Leonard decides an application for delivery of a bill under s68(2) in a fixed costs RTA case

High Court

Court of Appeal clarifies amount of fixed costs payable where case settles ahead of a disposal hearing

Briggs LJ decides that cases which commence under the RTA and EL/PL protocols and settle prior to a disposal hearing attract the most generous fixed costs regime

fixed cost

Fixed Costs v The Standard Basis

A Costs Officer conducting a detailed assessment on a standard basis was not precluded from considering whether the claimants’ costs should be limited to those recoverable under stages 1 and 2 of the Pre-Action RTA Protocol where there was a consent order in which the defendant agreed to pay the claimants reasonable costs.