13 March, 2018
Corstorphine (An Infant) v Liverpool City Council (2018) EWCA Civ 270
The Court of Appeal has provided further guidance on the application of QOCS. The court was asked to consider whether QOCS should apply to defendants added to proceedings after 1 April 2013 where the existing claim was subject to a CFA and ATE insurance policy.
The claimant brought a claim against Liverpool City Council after allegedly sustaining a serious injury whilst playing on a tyre swing in a playground.
At trial, the judge dismissed the primary claim and the additional claim and ordered the claimant to pay the respondent's costs of the primary claim, as well as those of the second and third defendants. This was on the basis that there was a pre-commencement funding arrangement (the CFA and ATE cover) which meant that QOCs did not apply.
The Court of Appeal Ruling
After considering the transitional provisions, it found that the relevant "matter" in the present case was the primary claim against the defendant. The pre-commencement funding arrangement was entered into for this claim only, there was no CFA or ATE policy which applied to the claims against the additional parties. The Court of Appeal concluded that the QOCS regime applied to the claims made against the second and third defendants and set aside the decision.
This is an important decision which serves to further clarify the position on QOCS. Claimants will receive QOCS protection where parties have subsequently been added to proceedings after 1 April 2013. Defendants should review cases where this maybe the case and consider the resulting costs implications for such matters.