& Ors v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis  EWHC 1941 (QB)
This case, which
was before The Honourable Mrs Justice Slade BDE, related to an appeal from the Judgment
of Deputy Master Keens from October 2018, wherein the costs were assessed at
circa £88,000.00; reduced from just over £122,000.00. The Claimant’s Bill of
Costs included costs of attending two Pre-Inquest Reviews as well as the
The claim was for
damages for breach of Article 2 of the ECHR, negligence and misfeasance in
public office following the death of a relative of the Claimants. The claim was
settled for just over £18,000.00 prior to any Letter of Claim.
In respect of the
costs litigation aspect of the claim, the Defendant appealed the Judgment of
Master Keen on two grounds:
Master Keen erred in law in concluding that the £88,356.22 ordered to be paid
by the Defendant was proportionate within the meaning on CPR 44.3(5) and that
Deputy Master Keen failed to take into account CPR 44.3(2).
Master Keen wrongly accepted the Claimants’ argument that the ‘general costs of
the inquest’ were recoverable costs of the action. By wrongly holding that the
Inquest was ‘the battleground’ for the claim, Deputy Master Keen was led into
the error of allowing the vast majority of the Inquest costs as costs of the
contended that the costs were to be assessed by reference to Kazakhstan
Kagazy Plc v Zhunus  EWHHC 404, wherein it is provided that the costs
“the lowest amount which [the receiving party] could
reasonably be expected to spend in order to have the case conducted and
presented proficiently having regard to all the circumstances”
The Defendant also contended that the court was
not bound by decisions made prior to the introduction of the Jackson reforms,
Mrs Justice Slade disagreed at paragraph 44.
“I disagree. In my judgement there is no reason to
disregard previous authorities where and insofar as they deal with
considerations in the current rules of court which are to be applied when
At Paragraph 46 Mrs
Justice Slade referred to guidance provided in Roach and Anor v Home Office
 2 WLR 746 and Re Gibson’s Settlement Trusts  Ch 179.
“These authorities emphasise the need to identify the
issues raised in the civil claim and the relevance of matters in other
proceedings, the inquest in Roach, or procedures, in Gibson, to
determine as a first question, whether any of those costs can in principle be
claimed in the civil proceedings. Once the threshold of relevance has been
passed, the costs judge will decide whether the costs claimed in respect of, in
this case, the Inquest, were proportionate to the matters in issue in the civil
proceedings. As for the amount of those costs, those which are disproportionate
may be disallowed or reduced even if they were reasonably and necessarily
that the cost of attending an Inquest had to be relevant to the civil claim
before the issue of proportionality was considered. Rather than the costs as a
whole being assessed under the proportionality test.
Further, it was
confirmed that no two cases are the same when assessing the recoverability of
the costs of an Inquest in a civil claim, “It
is trite but important to emphasise that each application for costs in a civil
claim and related to an Inquest must be determined on its own facts”. This
is as per Roach.
Mrs Justice Slade
later differentiated the current claim from that of Kazakhstan Kagazy,
due to this claim being about more than money.
When providing her
Judgment, Mrs Justice Slade allowed ground 2 of the appeal in so far as two
specific items within the Claimant’s Bill of Costs (items 68 and 69, which were
documents time), where Deputy Master Keen had undertaken a broad-brush assessment
rather than assessing the relevance of each cost ( the documents time claimed
at items 68 and 69 had not been split into categories or subjects).
In relation to
ground 1 of the appeal, Mrs Justice Slade confirmed “Deputy Master Keen did not err in taking into account the issues
raised in the civil claim were not only financial but were of important to the deceased
family”. The Defendant themselves acknowledged this claim was not just
about the money,
By virtue of
allowing ground 2 of the appeal, ground 1 of the appeal was also allowed in so
far as the total costs awarded following re-assessment of items 68 and 69 were
to be assessed.
makes sense, as the relevance of the costs of attending the inquests are to be
considered; this is established law. However, this was not undertaken as Deputy
Master Keen adopted a broad-brush approach in relation to items 68 and 69 of
the Bill of Costs without considering the relevance of the time claimed within
the documents schedule.
Court recognised that the claim was much more than just a financial claim to
the Claimants. This will be welcome news to Claimant lawyers dealing with low
value matters; which carry that element
of importance or justice for the Claimant which cannot be truly quantified in
This blog was written by Matthew Waring who is an
Associate in the Costs and Litigation Funding Team at Clarion. Matthew can be
contacted on 0113 288 5639 or at Matthew.Waring@clarionsolicitors.com