Ho v Adelekun

The Power To Set Off Costs Against Costs In A QOCS Case

In November last year the Court of Appeal decided that fixed costs continued to apply in a case which started under the RTA Protocol and was settled by way of the acceptance of a Part 36 Offer which referred to CPR 36.13 and offered to pay “costs to be subject to detailed assessment if not agreed”.

As a consequence of that decision the Appellant (original defendant) was awarded her costs of the appeal.

The question to be determined now was whether the court had jurisdiction to set off those costs against the costs owed to the Respondent (original claimant) in the substantive claim.

FAULKNER V SECRETARY OF STATE FOR BUSINESS, ENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY

QOCS: Setting Off Costs Against Costs

The court exercised its discretion against allowing a defendant to set off ‘costs against costs’ in a case where it unsuccessfully applied to resurrect a discontinued claim with a view to striking it out and thus removing the protection of QOCS by virtue of CPR 44.15.

Set off of costs against damages recovered in a legally aided case

It was appropriate to follow the principle in Lockley v National Blood Transfusion Service (1992) 1 WLR 492 and set off a costs order made against a publicly-funded claimant against costs and damages recoverable elsewhere in the action. That was so even though the financial burden on the Legal Services Commission would be less if a Lockley order was not made; the Commission had decided to fund the action and the successful defendant was entitled to enforce the costs order in its favour.