Multiple Claimants - Each Claimant Entitled to Fixed Costs
Posted on 25th March 2022 at 09:22
By Sean Linley, Costs Draftsman
HHJ Glen was asked to consider whether in a claim involving multiple Claimants, that fixed costs ought to be awarded for each Claimant or whether, given there was only one claim that there could only be a single award of fixed costs.
In the case of Melloy & Anor v UK Insurance Ltd  EW Misc 4 (CC) (25 February 2022) the Court concluded that:
"In my judgment, where there are two or more claimants in proceedings for damages that fall within Part IIIA of CPR45, each such claimant (assuming that they have each submitted a CNF) is separately entitled to the costs set out in Table 6B."
The claim related an RTA for a modest whiplash claim. The Claimants were passengers in a vehicle and a Claim Notifications Form was submitted for each Claimant. The Defendant denied liability leading to a Part 7 claim to be issued with the Claimants beating their Part 36 offers at Trial.
The Claimants contended:
"that the costs order must contain a separate award under Section C of Table 6B to CPR45 in respect of each Claimant."
The Claimants argued that the Protocol and CPR 45.29A contemplate only a single and a single Claimant and accordingly each Claimant is entitled to recover the fixed costs in Table 6B.
The Defendant argued that:
"the claim’ for this purpose is the claim as issued on 23 July 2020. There is only one such claim (even though there are two claimants) and therefore there can only be one award of fixed costs."
HHJ Glen made clear that it was common ground that "only one claimant can be included in a Protocol claim."
Further considering the issues it was stated that:
"The answer to this issue must be derived from a construction of the relevant Rules against the context of the purposes of the Protocol and the fixed costs regime. Mr Whatley suggested that to award two sets of fixed costs would result in a windfall to the Claimants’ Solicitors out of all proportion to the actual additional work involved in representing more than one client. Whilst that may be so, it is of the essence of any fixed costs regime that there will be swings and roundabouts. The outcome cannot inform the construction except in the most exceptional case (as in Qader v. Esure Services Ltd.  EWCA Civ 1109)."
The Court examined the wording of the rules under Part IIIA of CPR 45 ultimately concluding that:
"In my judgment (and in comity with HHJ Pearce) the expressions ‘claim’ and ‘claimant’ have an autonomous meaning for the purposes of Part IIIA of CPR45. They refer to the claim started by, and the claimant who submitted, the CNF and not to the claim or claimant in the proceedings."
The ultimate conclusion that where there are two or more Claimants in proceedings for damages that fall within Part IIIA of CPR 45 will be entitled separately to costs will be a relief to Claimant practitioners. It is important to note, however, that the Court were extremely clear that a Claim Notification Form must have been submitted for each Claimant.
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