This Court of Appeal decision emphasised Clarke LJ’s rejection in Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas Keystone Inc.  EWHC 566 (Comm) of the proposition that “the test for the sum to award was the “irreducible minimum””, and Leggatt LJ’s decision in Dana Gas v Dana Gas Sudek  EWHC 332 (Comm) that “A logical approach is to start by estimating the amount of costs likely to be recovered on a detailed assessment and then to discount this figure by an appropriate margin to allow for error in the estimation.”
In this short judgment Mr Justice Cavanagh declined to make an issue-based costs order despite the claimant having been unsuccessful in two parts of his claim on the basis that the evidence which he had obtained and presented in support of these had not been wasted.
The Defendant succeeded in striking out parts of the claim against it but failed in two other applications.
As a result, costs orders were made in both directions.
Summary assessment was considered inappropriate due both to the “difficult exercise in assessment” of the Defendant’s costs and the amount sought by the Claimant.
The Claimant therefore sought a payment on account under CPR 44.2(8).
In November last year we reported on the case of Finnegan v Frank Spiers  EWHC 3064 (Ch) in which Mr Justice Birss held that there is no jurisdiction to award a payment on account under CPR 44.2(8) in circumstances where a claim is settled by way of acceptance of a Part 36 Offer.
Master Cook has endorsed the approach taken by HHJ Robinson in I v Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust where overturned the refusal of DJ Batchelor to award the claimant in a long running clinical negligence matter a substantial payment on account of quantum costs.
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.
Following the decision of Birss J in J P Finnegan v Spiers (t/a Frank Spiers Licensed Conveyancers)  EWHC 3064 (Ch) which we reported on last year, HHJ Rawlings has found that the court has no power to award a payment on account of costs in circumstances where the substantive action has settled by way of acceptance of a Part 36 Offer.
We previously reported on the decision of HHJ Robinson on appeal in the County Court at Northampton where he overturned District Judge Batchelor’s refusal to allow a second interim payment in a long running clinical negligence matter where 90% liability had been admitted and it was agreed that determination of quantum would not be possible until 2022, commenting that “Failure to ensure adequate cash flow during the period of inevitable delay may lead to the perverse and undesirable consequence that solicitors are unwilling to take on case [sic] such as this at an early stage.”
The defendant has been refused permission to appeal this decision by the Court of Appeal.
This was a decision of Jacobs J as to the entitlement of the defendant following discontinuance to an award of indemnity costs and a payment on account pursuance to CPR 44.2(8). The Court held that there was nothing “out of the norm” in the claimant’s conduct of the proceedings (in which they sought the enforcement of a Swedish arbitration award) up until a hearing of the defendant’s application to set aside in June 2017 when Robin Knowles J found that the defendant’s three original grounds of challenge were no longer maintainable, but that they had had established a prima facie case that the award was obtained by fraud.
This was a costs decision following determination of 23 common issues between the parties in group litigation between several hundred sub-postmasters and The Post Office. It dealt with a number of issues, including:
Whether the costs of the Common Issues should be reserved;
Who should pay the costs of the Common Issues and in what proportion;
Whether the costs be assessed on the standard or on the indemnity basis;
An application for an interim payment on account; and
Timing of the detailed assessment of the costs.