JC & A Solicitors Limited v Andeen Iqbal & others [2017] EWCA Civ 355

A firm of solicitors appealed against a decision concerning the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents as it stood before 2013. The solicitors had acted for claimants in 3 claims in which a CNF had been submitted. The defendant in each case had admitted liability and paid Stage 1 costs but the claimants had taken no further steps to pursue their claims.

The defendants had sought to recover the £400 + VAT of fixed costs. At first instance, the District Judge found that the Protocol allowed for a right of recovery in such circumstances. On appeal, the claimant solicitors argued that there was no express repayment provision and it was not possible to imply one.

HELD:

There was no express provision for repayment within the Protocol. As to whether one could be implied, it was noted that the claimant was entitled to stage 1 costs under paragraph 5.9 where the claimant reasonably believed that the claim was valued at between £1,000 and £10,000 but it subsequently became apparent that the value was less than £1,000. It did not make sense that this was contingent upon the claimant attending court to prove that belief. This paragraph was intended simply to make clear that the right to stage 1 costs was not lost simply because a claim was worth less than £1,000.

CPR r45.40 implicitly treated stage 1 costs as costs which the claimant was entitled to outright. It simply required them to be taken into account so as to avoid double recovery. It did not treat such costs as a mere interim payment of costs.

The separate, and different, provisions relating to children’s claims – whereby the receipt of costs was deferred – did not have any impact upon an adult claimant’s entitlement to costs.

The Protocol was intended to be a detailed code and the Court should be slow to imply terms into it. It was clear from the Protocol that it intended to ensure that the claimant’s solicitors should receive payment for their work along the way. Cases might be concluded after stage 1 for a variety of reasons; it would be contrary to the intention of the Protocol to incentivise such cases coming to Court when they otherwise would not.

July 15, 2017 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases