DO FIXED COSTS APPLY TO PORTAL CASES ALLOCATED TO THE MULTI TRACK? A COUNTY COURT DECISION – THAT SAYS THAT THEY DO
In Quader -v- Esure Services Limited (Birmingham County Court 15th October 2015) His Honour Judge David Grant considered the issue of whether fixed costs applied to a portal case that was transferred to the Multi Track.
The judge considered a case where the value of a road traffic claim was limited to £15,000. The defendant alleged that the accident was deliberately induced by the claimants. The action was allocated to the Multi Track and the parties ordered to file costs budgets.
THE ORDER THAT FIXED COSTS APPLIED
When the matter came before the District Judge it was held that
“CPR 45.29A fixed costs will apply to the claimant’s costs. Costs management does not apply to this case.”
The claimants appealed to the Circuit Judge. That appeal was dismissed.
KEY POINTS OF THE JUDGMENT ON APPEAL
- The judge dismissed the claimants’ appeal against an order that Fast Track fixed costs applied to a personal injury case that was allocated to the Multi Track.
- The judge held that “The text of CPR rule 45.29A is quite clear: it states that Section IIIA of Part 45 will apply when a claim is started under the RTA Protocol, but no longer continues under that Protocol or the stage 3 procedure set out in Practice Direction 8B.”
- The judge rejected an argument that the rules had to be interpreted so as to implement the Jackson reforms. There were cases where parts of the proposals were not accepted by the Rules Committee. (For instance the wording of CPR 3.9 is materially different to the proposals from Jackson LJ).
- There was no ambiguity or lack of clarity in the wording of the rules which requires a judge to construe or interpret them in a purposive manner. ” Instead the task is simply to apply the plain meaning of those words and expressions.”
- The District Judge’s construction of the rules did not breach or cause affront to the overriding objective.
- The application of fixed costs in these circumstances did not breach article 6 and deny the claimants the right to a fair trial. CPR 45.29J potentially alleviated any harm to the claimants.