The Court considered an application for costs following a judgement made in June 2019 in favour of the plaintiff. The plaintiff submitted that costs should be ordered on the standard basis based on the usual proposition that costs follow the event. However, the defendant contended that, based on offers to settle made by the defendant on two occasions in 2016, the plaintiff was liable to pay part of the defendant’s costs. The plaintiff maintained that the two offers were not compliant with the requirements of Part 5 of Chapter 9 of the UCPR, such that r 361 of the UCPR was inapplicable. Accordingly, the Court’s analysis centred around this issue.
Considering the first offer, the Court ruled that it was too ambiguous in its terms and failed to specify the basis on which costs were to be assessed, thereby rendering the offer invalid. Moreover, since the second offer made by the defendant was not open for 14 days as required by the UCPR, it too was defective. Consequently, the Court rejected the defendant’s assertion that the offers made were complaint with the UCPR. Further, the Court was not inclined to exercise its discretion to undermine the effect of the UCPR and make an order favourable to the defendant. Nevertheless, the Court reasoned that it would be inappropriate for the plaintiff to be awarded all of its costs based on its failure to prove critical aspects of its original case. Consequently, the defendant was ordered to pay interest as well as 75 percent of the costs of the proceedings, calculated on the standard basis.
Nicholas Andreatidis QC (with P Neskovcin QC) appeared on behalf of the defendant, instructed by Allens Linklaters.
The judgment is available here.