30 December, 2014
In this case the High Court considered the appropriate order for costs following judgment on quantum in a claim following a fire at the Sugar Hut nightclub in Brentwood, Essex in 2009. The club having subsequently appeared in the TV show "The Only Way is Essex".
The claimant had succeeded on some issues but not others and an offer of settlement under Part 36 had been made and not accepted. The Part 36 offer made by the defendant had been beaten at a trial on quantum.
The Judge found that given the terms of the offer it had been unreasonable for the claimant to have pursued its higher claim for business interruption losses. Although the claimant was the successful party, in accordance with CPR r.44.2 and in the exercise of the court's discretion, there was good reason to depart from the general rule. The claimant's conduct was taken into consideration, it was quoted in the judgment that "the case was a paradigm example of an exaggerated claim".
The Judge ordered that the Claimant was not entitled to its costs from 21 days after the Part 36 offer. It was important to recognise that the Claimant had failed on a number of its claims, which represented a significant element of its overall claim and also gave rise to discrete issues involving disclosure and evidence. The court was keen to stress that the conclusion was not based on a near-miss analysis and it had the benefit of full information on the negotiations which took place.