THE COSTS OF REPAIRS AND THE COSTS OF THE ACTION: HOW SHOULD THE VALUE OF REPAIRS BE ASSESSED FOR THE PURPOSE OF ALLOCATION
I am grateful to Alex Bagnall from Total Legal Solutions for sending me a copy of the judgment of District Judge Haisley in Jailli -v- Bury Council, a copy is available here Jalili v Bury Council – Manchester CC – Judgment – 20210617 V Final. The judgment concerned the issue of how a claim for specific performance should be valued for the purpose of allocation of an action and, thus, for costs purposes.
The claimant settled a proposed action claiming specific performance and damages for disrepair. Both parties instructed expert surveyors and these surveyors disagreed on the amount of work that needed carrying out. The claimant’s expert stating these were £3,915 and the defendant £740. One reason for the difference in valuations was that the claimant assessed the costs on the basis of the “open market” costs of hiring builders, the defendant’s valuation was based on the costs of the work being done in-house by the defendant council. The defendant carried out the work its own expert identified as necessary. The matter then resolved on the claimant accepting the defendant’s Part 36 offer of £1,000.
THE DISPUTE AS TO COSTS
Part 8 proceedings for costs were issued. The parties could not agree on costs because there was a fundamental difference between them as to whether this was a case that would have been allocated to the small claims track. That in turn depended on how the costs of the repairs should be valued – on an “open market” basis or with the work being done “in-house” .
THE DECISION OF THE DISTRICT JUDGE: THE DEFENDANT’S APPROACH WAS CONCERNED
The District Judge found in favour of the defendant’s approach. The appropriate approach to the value of the claim was based on the assumption that the work should be done in-house.