Common Sense Versus Common Law
The recent Lawtel reported decision of Warner v Merrett (2014) QBD, Mercantile (Judge Mackie QC) 12/06/2014 seems yet further proof that the courts are applying common sense over common law in relief from sanctions applications.
The Claimant/Applicant had been awarded it's costs. However, it had failed to provide, with the bill of costs, certain information concerning the solicitors' and counsel's success fee and the ATE premium in accordance with the pre 1 April 2013 Costs Practice Direction 32.5. The consequence is that pursuant to CPR.r.44.3B no additional liabilities were recoverable.
Upon the Defendant/Respondent raising the point in points of dispute, the Applicant immediately sought to rectify the position by providing the information and applying for a determination as to whether there had been a breach and, if so, to seek relief from sanctions.
The court found that there had been a breach requiring relief but that the breach was trivial or insignificant. Further, even if that were wrong, it was just to grant relief in all the circumstances.
Receiving parties will no doubt see hope arising from this decision.
By Nick McDonnell Senior Associate/Costs Lawyer