Has the High Court opened the door to the recovery of costs for defendants in RTA portal cases involving high value vehicle related damages?

High Court considers a discretion to dis-apply QOCS protection where the claim presented is a mix of personal injury and vehicle related damages

Andrea Brown v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis & Other [2018] EWHC 2046 (Admin) considered

Weightmans recently acted for the successful appellant in Andrea Brown v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2018] EWHC 2046 (Admin).

A feature that arises out of the case and which is likely to be of interest to motor claims practitioners is that the High Court considered that the court has a discretion to disapply ‘qualified one-way costs shifting’ (QOCS) protection where the claim presented is a mix of personal injury and vehicle damage.  

At paragraph 54, Mrs Justice Whipple DBE remarked:

A standard PI claim for damages for personal injury and damage to property is subject, at least in theory, to the discretion in CPR 44.16(2)(b) because the claimant is claiming for something beyond damages for personal injuries. In an ordinary claim arising out of an RTA, it might be thought unlikely that a Court would consider it just to remove QOCS protection, simply because the injured claimant also sought compensation for damage to their car. But the discretion is there, and in an unusual RTA, for example where the personal injury claim is modest but the main issue in the case relates to damage to the car, the Court might consider it just to remove QOCS protection.’

The provision referenced above provides:

(2) Orders for costs made against the claimant may be enforced up to the full extent of such orders with the permission of the court, and to the extent that it considers just, where –

(b) a claim is made for the benefit of the claimant other than a claim to which this Section applies.

Vehicle related damages often far outweigh personal injury damages in claims. This case may well open the door to defendants recovering their costs in cases that are unsuccessful at trial.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about our legal update, please contact Chris Ball (Partner), or Jeff Turton (Associate).

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