20 January, 2020
The Claimant alleged that he had been playing football on an artificial pitch and had fallen on a concrete lip sustaining a personal injury to his knee. The pitch was owned by the local authority (the Second Defendant represented by Forbes Solicitors). The First Defendant rented the pitch from the Second Defendant. The Claimant alleged that the concrete lip was dangerous and brought a claim pursuant to s.2 Occupiers Liability Act 1957.
At the trial, the claim against the Second Defendant was dismissed. The Court found that it had been agreed that the First Defendant would be responsible for the maintenance and inspection of the pitch. The Judge concluded that the local authority was not the occupier, had not been negligent and was therefore not responsible for the Claimant's accident.
The Claimant's claim against the First Defendant was successful and he recovered the sum of £5500.
At the conclusion of the trial, the Second Defendant successfully applied for an Order requiring the Claimant to pay the Second Defendant's costs up to the value of the awarded damages following the decision in Cartwright v Venduct Engineering  EWCA Civ 1654. As the Second Defendant's costs exceeded the amount received in damages by the Claimant; he will not receive any damages despite succeeding in his claim against the First Defendant.
Whilst the Claimant will undoubtedly feel aggrieved at this outcome, the QOCS regime was created to prevent claimants incurring a net loss at the conclusion of a personal injury claim. It was also designed to deter claimants from commencing claims against multiple defendants, safe in the knowledge that they will not incur any cost liability. Whilst CPR 44.14(1) limits the Second Defendant to the extent that it can only recover its costs up to amount of damages awarded, we are delighted that they will recoup a large proportion of their costs from the Claimant.