21 October 2015

Fixed Costs Applicable to Multi-track PI Claim

The fixed recoverable costs regime applies to low-value personal injury claims that start under the RTA and EL/PL protocols but then exit and proceed on the multi-track, a circuit judge has ruled in a decision which is said to have implications for the conduct of higher-value cases as well.

HHJ David Grant said the provisions of the CPR effectively realised Lord Justice Jackson’s ambition to introduce fixed costs into the lower reaches of the multi-track.

The case, Qader & Ors v Esure Services Ltd [2015] EWHC B18 (TCC), concerned a claim by three claimants for damages put at between £5,000 and £15,000, but the defendant insurer alleged that the driver had deliberately induced the accident by braking sharply.

A deputy district judge directed that the case be allocated to the multi-track, and listed it for a case and costs management conference, and also set a date by which budgets had to be filed.

The matter then came before District Judge Salmon, who ordered that CPR 45.29A fixed costs would apply to the claimant’s costs, and not costs management. Refusing permission to appeal, he said the rule was clear on its face that the determining factor was not track but value in respect of the operation of the fixed costs regime.

He also noted that CPR 45.29J allowed the court to depart from the fixed costs regime if there were exceptional circumstances, while CPR 3.12© “clearly contemplates costs on the multi-track being subject to fixed costs”.

HHJ Grant gave the claimants permission to appeal but then rejected their case.