DEFENDANT SOLICITOR IN COSTS ASSESSMENT NEED NOT RESPOND TO PART 18 REQUESTS ABOUT PREMIUMS: “THE GENERAL QUESTIONS POSED ARE A PARADIGM EXAMPLE OF A FISHING EXPEDITION”
I am grateful to Nick McDonell from Kain Knight for sending me a copy of the judgment of Costs Judge Rowley in Brown -v- JMW Solicitors LLP  2848 (SCCO). In that case the judge refused to make an order compelling the defendant solicitors to answer questions in relation to after the event insurance premiums paid on the claimant’s behalf. A copy of the judgment is available here. Judgment Brown v JMW Solicitors  EWHC 2848 (SCCO)
“in my judgment it would be inappropriate to require the defendant to answer generic Part 18 questions. In the absence of any stated suspicion, let alone any evidence to support it, the general questions posed are a paradigm example of a fishing expedition.”
This was a solicitor and own client assessment. The defendant had represented the claimant in personal injury proceedings. The claimant then sought an assessment of the costs he was to pay to the defendant. A policy costing £644 had been taken out, on the claimant’s behalf.
THE PART 18 REQUESTS
The Part 18 requests related to the relationship between the defendant and the insurer. The claimant, effectively, trying to tease out whether any commission had been paid. The defendant refused to answer. The claimant made an application that the defendant respond. Neither party put any evidence before the judge at the application.
THE JUDGE’S DECISION: THE PART 18 REQUESTS NEED NOT BE ANSWERED
The judge found that it was not appropriate to order the defendant to respond.