COSTS AGAINST A NON-PARTY: THE PRINCIPLES CONSIDERED AND APPLIED

I am grateful to Colm Nugent for sending me a copy of the decision of Veronique Buehrlen Q.C in Rubiera -v- Building & Handyman Group Ltd (13th December 2019). It relates to a non-part costs order being made against a director of a limited company.

 

THE CASE

The claimant had been successful in bringing an action for damages for defective and incomplete building work.  The defects she complained of were “extensive and in some cases, very serious”.  The defendant company had been desultory in its conduct of the litigation and it was placed in a creditor’s voluntary liquidation on the eve of trial.  The company was unrepresented at trial and the claimant obtained judgment for a substantial amount.

THE CLAIMANT’S APPLICATION FOR A NON-PARTY COSTS ORDER

The claimant sought a non-party costs order against the directors of the defendant limited company.

THE LEGAL PRINCIPLES

The judge reviewed the legal principles in detail.
  1. The following further guidance emerges from the case law in relation to non-party costs orders against company directors / shareholders:
  • Although Lord Brown’s third principle cited above refers to a non-party who funds the litigation, funding is not a pre-requisite to the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction. That was made clear by Longmore LJ in Petromec Inc v Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras [2006] EWCA Civ 1038:
“10.   In these circumstances it is not necessary to discuss the authorities at any length. I would only observe that, although funding took place in most of the reported cases, it is not, in my view, essential, in the sense of being a jurisdictional pre-requisite to the exercise of the court’s discretion. If the evidence is that a respondent (whether director or shareholder or controller of a relevant company) has effectively controlled the proceedings and has sought to derive potential benefit from them, that will be enough to establish the jurisdiction. Whether such jurisdiction should be exercised is, of course, another matter entirely and the extent to which a respondent has, in fact, funded any proceedings may be very relevant to the exercise of discretion.”
The mere fact that a non-party is the controlling director of a one man company is not sufficient to justify a non-party costs order being made against him. However, contrary to Mr Steinert’s submission on behalf of Mr Job, it is not necessary for a party seeking a non-party costs order against a company director to demonstrate that the director caused the company to bring or defend the proceedings improperly.  That is clear from the judgment of Rix LJ in Goodwood Recoveries Ltd v William Peter Breen [2005] EWCA Civ 414, and cited with approval by Longmore LJ in Petromec:
“… the law has moved a considerable distance in refining the early approach of Lloyd LJ in Taylor v Pace Developments . Where a non-party director can be described as the “real party”, seeking his own benefit, controlling and/or funding the litigation, then even where he has acted in good faith or without any impropriety, justice may well demand that he be liable in costs on a fact-sensitive and objective assessment of the circumstances.”
  1. Further, the making of a non-party costs order against a company director is not to be equated with piercing or lifting the corporate veil. That was made clear by Lewison LJ in Threlfall v ECD Insight Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1444 at paragraph 13 where he said this:
“If a non-party costs order is made against a company director, it is quite wrong to characterise it as piercing or lifting the corporate veil; or to say that the company and the director are one and the same. As Mr Shaw has demonstrated, the separate personality of a corporation, even a single-member corporation, is deeply embedded in our law. But its purpose is to deal with legal rights and obligations. By contrast, the exercise of discretion to make a non-party costs order leaves rights and obligations where they are. The very fact that the making of such an order is discretionary demonstrates that the question is not one of rights and obligations of a non-party, for no obligations exist unless and until the court exercises its discretion. Moreover the fact that the discretion, if exercised, is exercised against a non-party underlines the proposition that the non-party has no substantive liability in respect of the cause of action in question. Of course, it is not enough merely to say that Mr Whitney was a director of ECD, but in deciding whether or not to make such an order, the court is not fettered by the legal realities. It is entitled to look to the economic realities. It is in this sense that many of the cases pose the question whether the non-party is “the real party” in the case.”
  1. Reliance was also placed by Mr Steinert on the need for a timely warning to be given to the non-party. It is correct that a failure to warn a non-party is a relevant factor to the exercise of the Court’s discretion. However it is not a pre-requisite: see Weatherford Global Products Ltd v Hydropath Holdings Ltd [2014] EWCH 3243 (TCC) per Akenhead J at paras. 12-13.

APPLYING THOSE PRINCIPLES TO THE FACTS OF THIS CASE

 

The judge then considered the conduct of the respondent director.

  1. In the present case, Mr and Mrs Job were the sole directors and shareholders of BHG. As the sole shareholders Mr and Mrs Job were therefore the only persons who stood to benefit from BHG’s counterclaim as well as any successful defence of Ms Rubiera’s claim.
  2. The company was the continuation of Mr Job’s previous residential refurbishment business that he undertook in his own name. Mr Job was the controlling mind behind BHG.  He had sole control of the litigation on behalf of the company.  That was not disputed and Mrs Job explained at paragraph 4 of her witness statement that whilst she was involved in the setting up of the company her role had diminished over the years particularly since having children.
  3. The evidence leads to the conclusion that Mr Job operated the company very much for his own benefit and purposes. I have not seen anything to suggest that Mr Job distinguished between his interests and those of the company and its creditors.  No corporate formalities were adhered to. There are no minutes of board meetings and no board resolutions.  Most telling, however, is how the finances of the company were operated.  In essence, as can be seen from the directors’ loan account, monies were paid out by the company for the benefit of Mr and Mrs Job on a regular (sometimes near daily) basis in the form of transfers to a private bank account, the regular payment of personal credit card bills and other payments such as for trips abroad. Then, at the year end, the directors’ loan would be cancelled by the payment of a dividend in an equal amount. This would then leave only a small reserve in the company with no apparent consideration as to the interests of the company or its creditors.  The amount of any reserves simply depended on what Mr and Mrs Job had previously drawn out.  Whilst there was nothing improper in how Mr Job operated the directors’ account, what it demonstrates is how the company was operated for Mr and Mrs Job’s sole benefit and interest.
  4. Mr Job did not fund the proceedings but that is because he obtained a CFA from Howell Jones. On the other hand, Mr Job took all the decisions in relation to the proceedings.  Further, documents in Russell Cooke’s file and that of Howell Jones reveal that Mr Job was heavily involved in the detail of the litigation including the preparation of expert evidence.  For instance, Russell Cooke’s letter to Mr Chapman and Mr Pope of Gleeds dated 12 September 2011 refers to time spent by Mr Chapman incorporating comments from Mr Job into his first expert report. Similarly, entries on Russell Cooke’s ledger for 16 and 17 November 2011 evidence Mr Job commenting and suggesting amendments to Mr Chapman’s second expert report.  Mr Petchey’s letter dated 4 June 2019 then refers to Mr Job providing material for expert cross examination.  Nor were BHG an “involuntary respondent” in the proceedings as submitted by Mr Steinert.  BHG brought its own counterclaim against Ms Rubiera for some £59,000 and it was only because, unbeknown to BHG, Ms Rubiera had issued proceedings herself on 31 October 2016 that BHG became the defendant in the consolidated action.
  5. Significantly, Mr Job chose not to obtain after the event insurance for BHG that would have enabled BHG to meet Ms Rubiera’s costs should BHG’s defence and counterclaim fail. Mr Job explained that decision at paragraph 41 of his second witness statement on the basis that Mr Petchey judged the risk of losing at 35% and that “the premium for insurance would be considerable” and “would eat into the debt recovered”.  The economic reality of course is that the premium would have cost Mr Job money in the form of reduced borrowings / dividends from the company and a reduced benefit from any recovery made by BHG.  There is no suggestion whatsoever that Mr Job gave any consideration to what the consequences would be for BHG or Ms Rubiera were Ms Rubiera to succeed and Mr Job to have failed to obtain any ATE insurance for BHG.  It also transpires that Mr Job refused to allow a claim to be made on BHG’s insurance for the damage caused by BHG in undertaking the Works to the neighbouring property so that Ms Rubiera was forced to pursue that further aspect of her claim in these proceedings.
  6. Unlike Mr Job, and as he was aware following the filing of Ms Rubiera’s Notice of Funding of April 2013, Ms Rubiera had taken steps to obtain insurance cover should her claim fail. An unattractive picture then emerges as to the reality of the costs situation.  Mr Job was able to obtain the benefit of a CFA for BHG from Howell Jones on the basis that Howell Jones would look to have their costs paid by Ms Rubiera and in particular through her ATE insurance. On the other hand, if Ms Rubiera succeeded there was no provision in BHG and no insurance obtained on behalf of BHG to meet her costs, let alone any award of damages made in her favour.  Given the nature of the claim and counterclaim, the suggestion at paragraph 31 of Mr Petchey’s witness statement that Ms Rubiera had remedies available to her in the form of applications for summary judgment and security for costs is totally unrealistic.
  7. Mr Steinert sought to justify the decisions made and steps taken by Mr Job in the litigation by reference to the fact that he was advised by Howell Jones that BHG had a 65% chance of making a recovery against Mrs Rubiera. That advice was based by Mr Petchey on Mr Chapman’s initial reports in relation to the alleged defects to the Property.  Those reports were of course contradicted by those of Mr Lewis. They were also contradicted by the notes provided by the architect, Mr Baxter, and the structural engineer, Mr Dellard.  They were also incomplete because they did not address the evidence of the architect or that of the structural engineer.  There appears to have been no consideration of this highly material further evidence despite Russell Cooke’s assurance in their letter of 30 November 2011 that this material had been considered by BHG in detail.
  8. Be that as it may, I fully agree with Mr Nugent’s submission. If anyone knew about the true condition of the Property and quality of the works it was Mr Job.  Although Mr Job did not have the day to day control of the works he did exercise a supervisory role over the works.  He visited the property and took photographs of the works prior to leaving the site.  He was provided with the architect and the structural engineer’s notes of the defects as well as the list of breaches of building regulations.  He attended the site visit on 29 September 2011 following the opening up of the Works.  He commented, it would appear in detail, on Mr Chapman’s reports and must therefore have considered the evidence in detail.  Having operated a business refurbishing residential property since before BHG was set up in 2003 and given the extent of the material provided by Ms Rubiera in relation to the defects, Mr Job did not need an expert to tell him whether or not works had been undertaken to the requisite standard.  To that falls to be added the fact that, as can be seen from paragraph 25 of my judgment in the main action, the standard of the works in this case was extremely poor and that should have been obvious to someone with Mr Job’s experience.
  9. It was submitted on behalf of Mr Job that the present costs position was the result of how the litigation was conducted on the part of Ms Rubiera.  Again I do not accept that submission. On the contrary, what appears is that the litigation was not conducted as it ought to have been by BHG and that it is as a result of BHG’s poor conduct of the proceedings that Ms Rubiera was given no option but to incur ever increasing costs as the matter proceeded inevitably to trial.
  10. I have come to that conclusion for a number of reasons. Firstly, the original consideration of the merits of the case does not appear to have taken into account evidence such as Mr Baxter’s and the structural engineer’s notes. Secondly, there was no reconsideration of the merits of the case at any stage (until 4 June 2019 on the eve of trial) following Mr Petchey’s initial discussion with Mr Job in November 2016, a discussion that took place prior to the issue of proceedings by Ms Rubiera.  Thirdly, Ms Rubiera served her list of documents on 7 September 2018.  It then took until 6 November 2018 for Howell Jones to request copies of the documents. It then appears from the list of documents provided to Howell Jones in December 2018 that this did not include the photographs or video footage i.e. items 217 and 255 of Ms Rubiera’s list.  This was not picked up by Howell Jones when it ought to have been.  The documents provided did include John Baxter’s notes of 21 September 2011 clearly supporting Ms Rubiera’s case.  Had Howell Jones requested copies of the disclosure in September 2018 and identified any discrepancy in the documents provided the additional material would have come to light much earlier.
  11. Fourth, Ms Rubiera had to obtain unless orders against BHG both in relation to disclosure and in relation to the service of witness statements. The obvious inference is that BHG’s case was not being prepared as it ought to have been and that delays were incurred in the conduct of the litigation as a result of failures on the part of BHG.  This in turn would have delayed any proper consideration of the underlying evidence.
  12. Fifth, although Mr Petchey states in his witness statement that he sought to locate Mr Chapman from July 2018 onwards, it was not until 17 January 2019, well after expert reports were originally due to be exchanged, that he finally wrote to Gleeds to establish Mr Chapman’s whereabouts. Nor am I convinced that BHG could not instruct an alternative expert.  That is because whilst a new expert would clearly be disadvantaged in not being able to view the property and the alleged defects for himself there was a large body of photographic and video evidence available to consider as well as Mr Chapman’s two original reports.
  13. It was also submitted on behalf of Mr Job that it only emerged on service of the Particulars of Claim that Ms Rubiera had fully stripped out the works and complaints are made that BHG was deprived of the opportunity to inspect during the strip out. That is not right.  Russell Cooke’s file records the fact that they were aware in late September 2011 that Ms Rubiera was proceeding with remedial works and that they wrote to Bird & Lovibond reserving BHG’s position.  Indeed, on 30 September 2011, the day after Mr Chapman’s second inspection of the Property, Russell Cooke wrote to Bird & Lovibond stating:
“It is clear from both the extent of the opening up work that has taken place and the materials on site that your client is proceeding on the basis that all of the work done by our client is defective and requires replacing.”
Mr Chapman inspected the Property twice, including following the opening up, and there was no request on the part of BHG for any further inspection e.g. to deal with any of the alleged defects that BHG’s experts considered required further investigation.  Clearly, not only was BHG made aware of the extent of the remedial works being undertaken by Ms Rubiera but its experts were afforded a proper opportunity to inspect the Property.  If further opening up was needed, they could have requested it. They did not.
  1. Mr Steinert also sought to persuade me that Mr Job was not at fault in relation to any of the decisions he made in pursuing the proceedings because it was said that it did not become apparent that BHG would lose until the filing of the joint expert’s report on 31 May 2019. In particular, he pointed to the fact that it was not until 27 March 2019 that BHG received Mr Lewis Green’s final report with video and photographic evidence of additional defects and that because of Mr Chapman’s lack of co-operation BHG did not have any expert input until the filing of the joint expert statement on 31 May 2019.
  2. I do not accept that submission. As already noted, the standard of the works was extremely poor and that would have been obvious.  However, even if that was not correct, all the defects complained of and subsequently listed in Mr Lewis Green’s final expert report were listed in the Scott Schedule first made available to BHG when the Particulars of Claim were served in February 2017.  Further, the video footage and additional photographs relied upon by Mr Lewis Green as further evidencing the parlous state of the works were disclosed by Ms Rubiera by list on 7 September 2018 (see items 216, 217 and 255 of Ms Rubiera’s disclosure list).  There is an issue because although copies were requested by Howell Jones on 6 November 2018, the material was not included in the documents provided.  However, Howell Jones failed to identify this fact.   That said, had Howell Jones done so, it is unlikely that it would have made any difference since it made no difference when the material was provided to BHG on 27 March 2019.
  3. Further, regardless of the additional evidence provided by Mr Lewis Green’s final report, BHG and Mr Job had a significant amount of the evidence as to the existence of the defects relied upon by Ms Rubiera long before Mr Lewis Green’s final report was served on 27 March 2019. BHG had Mr Lewis Green’s first two expert reports. BHG also had the structural engineer’s notes of eleven main structural items that were not in accordance with his drawings or good building practice and John Baxter’s 21 September 2011 notes of extensive defects.  These were documents provided to BHG in mid to late September 2011. They were documents that provided evidence of the extensive defects in the Works in support of Mr Lewis Green’s first two reports.  They are also documents that Russell Cooke stated in their letter dated 30 November 2011 BHG had “considered … in detail”.  Further, Mr Job (together with Mr Chapman) had inspected the Property following the opening up on 29 September 2011.
  4. Russell Cooke’s file also reveals that the defects identified by the architect and the structural engineer were deliberately not addressed by BHG in its original expert evidence. An entry on the file dated 1 November 2011 states that “[t]echnically no need for expert response to architect, structural engineer etc. as this is not expert evidence for purpose of proceedings”.  A later entry made on Russel Cooke’s ledger on 21 November 2011 records:
“Client – is not proposing to put in a response to architect, structural engineer at this stage.  Still looking at seeing whether we can respond to structural engineer’s allegations.”
These entries explain why Mr Chapman’s reports did not deal with certain of the defects and issues identified by the architect, John Baxter and the structural engineer.  An email from Mr Pavlovic to Mr Job dated 30 November 2011 on Russell Cooke’s file confirms that Mr Chapman was specifically instructed to deal solely with Mr Lewis Green’s interim report.
  1. Having reviewed the material, I am satisfied that BHG was provided with a significant amount of evidence in support of Ms Rubiera’s claims long before service of Mr Lewis Green’s final expert report and that this material alone provided ample support for several of Ms Rubiera’s key complaints. It ought to have been obvious from this material alone that the works were defective and that BHG would likely be found to be in breach of contract.  As already noted I also think it unlikely that if the additional photographs and video footage had been provided to Howell Jones in December 2018 (pursuant to BHG’s request for copies of the material) that it would have made any difference to the subsequent course of the proceedings.
  2. It is also relevant to note that Mr Job was BHG’s principal witness of fact. He signed a witness statement dated 10 May 2019 stating that he believed Ms Rubiera’s claim to be “largely without merit”.  In that statement whilst deferring to Mr Chapman, Mr Job also provided his own comments on a number of Ms Rubiera’s complaints, including the “new” complaints set out in the Scott Schedule, which he largely either rejected or described as snagging.  He explained that BHG had taken photographs of all the work before leaving the site and went on to state that:
“… they demonstrate that the works were well in hand, nearing completion; that finishing needed to be performed as did snagging. They show that the works were not of the nature that Mr Lewis, Chony or any of her advisers are trying to describe.”
Mr Job’s evidence was in stark contrast to what was being said in Mr Lewis Green’s reports, to what was evidenced by the photographs and video footage (including the additional material provided with Mr Lewis Green’s final report) and to the views expressed by the architect and the structural engineer in September 2011.
  1. Meanwhile, despite the extent of the evidence of defects and the difficulties in persuading Mr Chapman to return to the case, no offer was made by BHG to Ms Rubiera to settle the case. The evidence of Mr Trood, the partner at Bird & Lovibond with the conduct of the matter on behalf of Ms Rubiera, is that “at no stage during the course of the litigation did BHG make any proposals of settlement whatsoever (other than Mrs Rubiera should pay the entirety of the counter-claim)”.  That intransigent and unreasonable attitude on the part of Mr Job ensured that Ms Rubiera had no choice but to continue to pursue her claim and to incur ever increasing costs.
  2. Indeed, instead of making any offer of payment or of admitting liability on the claim and withdrawing the counterclaim, Mr Job took steps to place BHG in voluntary creditor’s liquidation on the eve of trial. This was despite the fact that BHG was, according to its most recently filed accounts, a solvent company with a turnover of some £1 million a year and a net profit of £133,750.  The result was to deprive Ms Rubiera of any chance of making any recovery be it of damages or costs.  The unsigned statement of affairs, prepared by the directors and provided by the joint liquidators under cover of their letter dated 11 June 2019, estimated total realisable assets for BHG in the sum of £14,500 and an estimated total deficiency of £80,450 (not including any potential recovery on the part of Ms Rubiera).
  3. As is rightly pointed out on behalf of Ms Rubiera, significant dividends were paid out of BHG (by way of repayment of the directors’ loan account) from 2011 to 2017 leaving only very modest reserves in the company. As a result of the sums taken by Mr and Mrs Job out of the company, BHG would not be in a position to meet any judgment made against it.  No provision was made for any of the costs of the litigation or for the possibility that Ms Rubiera might succeed.  The evidence of BHG’s accountant, Mr Slater, is that there was no obligation on the part of Mr and Mrs Job to recognise any liability in connection with the litigation in BHG’s accounts. This is because it is only where a contingent liability is “probable” that it need be recognised in the accounts and here Mr Petchey had assessed BHG’s prospects of success at 65%.  However, whatever may be the position in terms of making provisions for the purpose of a company’s accounts, it does not in my view justify having no regard whatsoever to the possibility that BHG might lose and to what the consequences of that would be.
  4. It is important to remember that the question is not whether or not BHG’s accounts were properly compiled or whether or not there is anything improper in operating a directors’ loan account in the manner in which Mr and Mrs Job operated their directors’ loan account. Rather the question is whether Mr Job was the real party to the litigation and, if so, whether it is just in all the circumstances of the case for a non-party costs order to be made against him.
  5. No explanation for what happened to the business of BHG has been provided by Mr Job. However, what has become apparent is that Mr Job has continued the business of BHG through another Building and Handyman group company known as Building & Handyman Fulham Limited.  Mr Trood explains in his evidence that Mr Job continues to operate through a different Building and Handyman group company with the same website and with the same address, email and telephone number as before.  In other words, it is business as usual despite the demise of BHG.
  6. Accordingly, by placing BHG in creditors’ voluntary liquidation and continuing to operate the business through a sister company Mr Job has ensured that Ms Rubiera would not make any recovery be it in relation to her costs or otherwise. Further, despite it having become clear that BHG would lose, no steps were taken by BHG (that is by Mr Job on behalf of BHG) to admit liability on the claim or withdraw the Counterclaim.  Ms Rubiera was therefore forced to continue to incur the costs of preparing for and attending a trial so as to obtain judgment in her favour on her claim and the dismissal of the counterclaim that had been brought against her.
  7. There has been a great deal of complaint on the part of Mr Job that no steps were taken by Ms Rubiera in the period from January 2012 until the issue of proceedings on 31 October 2016, save for the filing of a Notice of Funding on April 2013. That is correct.  However, Ms Rubiera was under no obligation to bring proceedings at an earlier date.  There are all sorts of possible reasons why Ms Rubiera may not have been in a position to do so.  For instance, given the evidence I heard at trial, she may not have been in a position to pay the requisite premiums for the ATE insurance at the time. Further, I note that BHG did not take any steps to prosecute its alleged counterclaim until it issued proceedings shortly before expiry of the limitation period on 28 November 2016.  It is therefore not appropriate for Mr Job to complain that steps were not being taken by Ms Rubiera.
  8. Ms Rubiera is also criticised for not complying with the TCC’s pre-action protocol. However, a detailed letter of claim was issued on behalf of Ms Rubiera on 8 June 2011 and responded to by BHG. The letter of claim identified several of the defects I found proved at trial such as the blockwork not correctly tied to the main building, defective gas installation and the incorrectly fitted and dangerous coping stones.  It also included Gardiner & Theobald’s expert report making clear the extent of the strip out and remedial works required.  Further, I am mindful of the fact that Ms Rubiera is a private individual, that (as she explained to me when giving evidence during the course of the trial) she had very serious financial difficulties as a result of the events the subject of these proceedings and that by the time proceedings were being issued limitation was looming.  Mr Job’s attitude to Ms Rubiera’s claim dating back to late 2010 is evidenced by his response to Mr Lewis Green’s first expert report which he described to Ms Rubiera in an email dated 29 December 2010 as “a fascinating read of fiction”.  Given that attitude, I doubt very much that a without prejudice meeting under the Pre-action Protocol would have achieved anything.  As already noted, subsequent attempts at settlement clearly failed.
The absence of a warning
  1. It is correct that no warning of a potential non-party costs order was given by the Claimant to Mr Job prior to her being notified that BHG was being put into creditors’ voluntary liquidation. Bird & Lovibond received a letter from WSM Marks Bloom LLP stating that Mr and Mrs Job had decided to place BHG into creditors’ voluntary liquidation on 6 June 2019.  The unsigned statement of affairs showing a deficit of £80,450 followed on 11 June 2019.  The application to join Mr and Mrs Job to the action pursuant to CPR Part 46.2 was issued two days later, that is on 13 June 2019.  Prior to that BHG’s accounts for the years ending 30 September 2015 to 30 September 2017 show the company to have been solvent with a turnover ranging from £976,367 to 1,157,134 and net profits of up to £167,335 per annum.  There was therefore no pressing reason, prior to Mr and Mrs Job’s decision to put BHG into creditors’ voluntary liquidation, for Ms Rubiera to issue a warning to Mr Job that she would look to him for the costs of the action.  Indeed, to have done so might have been regarded as threatening and aggressive litigation tactics.  As soon as Mr and Mrs Job’s decision to put the company into creditors’ voluntary liquidation was known an application was made to join Mr and Mrs Job to the action.
  2. I also note that there is no evidence that Mr Job would have behaved any differently had an earlier warning of a possible non-party costs order application been made. The fact that Mr Job has not said what he would have done in the event of such a warning leads me to conclude that the likelihood is that it would not have made any difference to his conduct of the litigation.  All the same, I am mindful of the fact that Mr Job did not have an opportunity to address the matter.  However, in my view the absence of a warning is cancelled out by the numerous other factors that justify an order being made in this case.
Conclusion
  1. Taking all the above factors into account, I have come to the conclusion that the real party interested in the outcome of the proceedings was Mr Job and I have no doubt that it is just and reasonable for Mr Job to be held jointly and severally liable for Ms Rubiera’s costs of the Action. I will therefore allow the application against Mr Job and make an order accordingly.  No order is to be made against Mrs Job.
  2. In the premises, it is also appropriate for Mr Job to pay the costs of the application. Those costs total £16,984.50. Whilst it is not an exercise in comparison I note that Mr and Mrs Job’s costs total £46,133.60.  I have considered these in light of the fact that the application was not ultimately pursued as against Mrs Job. However, there is nothing to indicate that the costs incurred by Mr and Mrs Job would have been any different had the application never included Mrs Job.
  3. Having reviewed the Claimant’s statement of costs these appear to be entirely reasonable for a one day application of this sort and I will therefore make an order assessing the costs of the application at £16,984.