News in brief – 01.03.2018

QOCS ‘abuse of process’ exception applied

A Queen’s Bench master has declared that a claimant whose claim for alleged sexual abuse was struck out had abused the court process and was not entitled to the protection of qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS). This was even though the whole proceedings were not an abuse, as there was a counterclaim too.

Under CPR 44.15(1)(b), costs orders may be enforced against a claimant without permission of the court “where the proceedings have been struck out on the grounds that… the proceedings are an abuse of the court’s process”.

In Day v Bryant [2018] EWHC 158 (QB), Master Thornett said: “I am entirely satisfied that the claimant’s conduct since November 2016 has been entirely abusive to the court’s process and that the strike-out automatically imposed in consequence of default directly reflects that abuse. For the purposes of CPR 44.15(1)(b), therefore, the claimant’s case has been struck out for abuse of process.

“I do not think there is any relevant distinction to be made here between the striking out of ‘a claim’ and the striking out of entire ‘proceedings’. Because it is only personal injury claims that attract the QOCS provisions, counterclaims are rare. Therefore, if the claim is struck out owing to abuse, it in turn sees the striking out of the entire proceedings.

“In the more unusual case of a claim that additionally includes a counterclaim, it is appropriate to interpret the QOCS exception as applying to the striking out of ‘the claim’ of the party that benefitted from QOCS.”

 

Pure move for Bacon

Leading costs counsel Nick Bacon QC has been appointed a non-executive director of PURE Business Group, of which PURE Legal Costs Consultants is a part.

CEO Phil Hodgkinson, who previously set up Compass Costs, said: “To have somebody of the calibre and reputation of Nick agreeing to join our board of directors is something of a coup for us. We are aware that Nick has been approached numerous times to take up similar roles in the legal world, and for him to choose our business, is testament to the hard work we have put in over the last three years to take the group to where it stands today… Nick will also assist with the oversight and development of our costs drafting business.”

Mr Bacon said: “This is an opportunity which will sit comfortably alongside my practice at the Bar. I have been very impressed over the past year of the progress made by the group in the development of litigation funding and the facilitation of greater, better and more affordable access to justice for litigants…

“We have agreed terms which do not adversely interfere with my practice at the Bar, so it’s very much business as usual in that respect.”

 

Final touch applied to May v Wavell ruling

His Honour Judge Dight – who overturned Master Rowley’s ruling in the high-profile proportionality case of May v Wavell – made the final order in the case last week, ruling that the respondents should pay 50% of the costs of the detailed assessment, summarily assessed at £10,882.

Costs Lawyer Oliver Jones – senior associate and technical and advocacy manager of Just Costs Solicitors – was instructed by Simon Farrell QC, who in turn was instructed by Brian May (pictured) on a direct access basis.

 

Picture credit: Maria Sealey (Creative Commons)

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Costs News
Published date
28 Feb 2018

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