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Bakewell v Bevan, County Court, 17 March 2000

15 September 2000
The issues

Civil Procedure Rules – Defendant’s conduct at fault – conduct reflected in Costs Orders.

The facts

The Claimant’s vehicle damaged in a road traffic accident on July 18, 1999. The Claimant instructed Solicitors and a letter was sent on July 20, 1999 which was acknowledged by insurers July, 23. On August 3, Claimant Solicitors told insurers the cost of repairs and asked for an interim payment. Insurers replied that enquiries were continuing; “bear with us a little longer”. August 24, 1999 Claimant’s Solicitors told insurers of claim for inconvenience and loss of use and warned that proceedings would be commenced in fourteen days including claim for “full scale costs”. Letter was unacknowledged. Proceedings were issued on November 8, 1999. Acknowledgement of service was filed but no defence entered in time. Judgment in Default entered December 13, 1999 by which time witness statements had been prepared by Claimant. Liability subsequently admitted and claim settled for £620. Matter went to a Disposal Hearing (why? Because costs?). It did not allocate the claim but awarded fixed costs of £140 criticising the fact that lawyers had become involved at all. Claimant appealed.

The decision

The Judge found that the insurers had failed to deal expeditiously or sensibly. Costs had been incurred by the Claimant in order to bring a sensible end to the litigation. The costs were therefore awarded at £1486.50 plus the costs of Appeal assessed at £1712.10.

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