“In my judgment the term “parties” is more likely than not to refer, when reading CPR 44 as a whole, to the parties between whom there is a dispute. There was no dispute between the First, Second and Fifth Respondents in this case… As regards discretion, if there is a discretion to exercise, contrary to my finding above, the First Respondent claims it would be “grossly” unfair not to be able to recover the costs of preparing and attending court where the First Respondent was neutral as to the outcome. It is true that the First Respondent was neutral. There was no dispute between him and the other Respondents. In these circumstances, my judgment, it would be unfair to visit the First Respondent’s costs of attending court on these Respondents.”
The Court was tasked with determining costs following a hard fought piece of commercial litigation in which the claimant was awarded US$5,388,312.08 of a US$63.5 million claim. Mrs Justice O’Farrell considered the various authorities and relevant principles to be applied when determining whether to make an issues based or proportional costs order before determining that the defendant should pay 85% of the claimant’s costs.
So, you’ve recovered £700,000. But you were claiming £38m. Who really won?
Sir Antony Edwards-Stuart found that the claimant’s recovery in this case whilst “not, of itself, nominal … was a tiny fraction (about 2%) of the sum claimed” and amounted to, at best, a pyrrhic victory. Following an examination of various authorities on the subject of identifying the true winner in cases where the claimant has recovered a small fraction of the amount sought, he determined that the defendant should pay just 20% of the claimant’s costs.