Non party costs Orders and credit hire companies

One of the other areas of work that keeps me busy, is costs litigation. The gift that never stops giving, as I have been arguing costs points both for and against insurance companies for 20 years. I have another webpage I devote to all matters to do with costs litigation here:

An interesting point that is arising with increasing frequency are applications against credit hire companies for non party costs Orders, under parts 44 and 46 CPR and section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981.

At the moment the tide is flowing strongly against the insurance industry: perhaps the leading case is the decision of Mr Justice Turner in Select Car Rentals v Esure [2017] EWHC 1434 (QB). I am grateful to counsel in the case Mr Matthew Stockwell for forwarding to me a copy of the judgment and also confirming that the case is not going further to the Court of Appeal.

The significance of the case, is that it confirms that despite an unfortunately worded Practice Direction, the scope of the court’s discretion to make a non party costs order, is no wider than it would be in any other type of case, where a non party costs application might be considered. The judgment also considered the earlier case I argued before District Judge Avent last year, a copy of which can be found here: Nathanmana v UK Insurance Judgment.

Mr Justice Turner within his judgment, also cites Cook on Costs with approval, a further example of that text’s revived authority with the higher judiciary, under the careful stewardship of its current authors.

In May I argued one of these applications whilst acting for a credit hire company, before District Judge Burn in the County Court at Lambeth, with judgment being reserved and handed down last month. A copy of that decision with her reasons for refusing to make a non party costs Order can be found here: Hussain v Bradford and Euronex Lambeth County Court 2nd August 2017 District Judge Burn.

Of course these applications can properly be made against credit hire companies and can succeed: last year, at the door of the court, when acting for an insurance company, I settled a case for a sum exceeding £30,000, the credit hire company accepting that it had to pay costs. But the insurers have to pick their fights carefully.

And so another branch of satellite litigation continues to flourish.

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