In this short judgment, Master James (costs judge) dealt with an application by the paying party for disallowance of the Claimant’s costs on grounds of unreasonable and improper conduct.
“In my judgment, the production of the Deed was a change in circumstances which justified discontinuing her claims to a beneficial interest in the Property of her and/or the deceased…. the change in circumstances was brought about by unreasonable behaviour by the defendants. The defendants’ solicitors did not properly engage with pre-action correspondence. Although the available evidence indicates that their clients had the Deed, having been sent the relevant files by Booth & Co, they did not produce a copy of it until 18 months after the claimant’s initial request. Even now, no explanation has been given as to why the Deed was not produced in September 2016, what steps were taken by the first defendant to look for it, what enquiries he made and searches he carried out and when and where the Deed was found.”