0370 270 6000

Hurst v Leeming (J), Chancery Division

24 June 2002
The issues

Professional negligence – mediation.

The facts

The Claimant’s action in which he brought proceedings for professional negligence against a Barrister concerning his conduct of proceedings was dismissed. The Claimant submitted that the Defendant should not be entitled to his costs, because Claimant had invited the Defendant to mediate and Defendant had refused. The Defendant argued that the refusal to mediate was reasonable because of the following reasons:-

(i) Costs already incurred at the time the request was made;

(ii) The allegations were allegations of professional negligence and were serious to the Defendant;

(iii) The claims were completely lacking in substance;

(iv) There was unlikely to be a successful outcome to the mediation proceedings;

(v) The Claimant had shown himself to be an obsessive character (revealed by his history of litigation).

The decision

1. Dunnett -v- Railtrack and Cowell -v- Plymouth City Council were support for the proposition that a party unreasonably refusing to mediate might be penalised in costs.

2. The fact that substantial costs had already been incurred, did not of itself, justify a refusal to mediate, but it was a relevant factor.

3. The allegation of professional negligence was not a sufficient reason to refuse.

4. Nor was the fact that a party thought they had an unbeatable case.

5. The character of the Claimant leading to the view that mediation had no realistic prospect of success was a justifiable reason.

6. The Defendant should not be penalised in costs.

7. This was an exceptional case.

Focus on...

Legal updates

Court of Appeal confirms exclusive English jurisdiction clause in excess liability policies in Canadian pipeline dispute

On 10 June 2022 the Court of Appeal upheld an anti-suit injunction granted in favour of insurers by Mr Justice Jacobs in September 2021 restraining proceedings from being brought in Canada and enforcing the exclusive English jurisdiction clause in excess liability policies.



Payment Fraud landscape shaped by technology in 2021

Payment systems across Europe are under increased pressure to mitigate fraud risks and defend against persistent attacks from enablers using ever more sophisticated and malicious viruses and malware.


Legal updates

Gosden and another v Halliwell Landau and another [2021] EWHC 159 (Comm)

This claim addressed the question, of when the date for assessment of damages in cases of negligence should be determined and shows that when appropriate the Courts will depart from the default position.


Legal updates

Assessing the scope of employers liability – Chell v Tarmac

These were the opening remarks of Mr Justice Martin Spencer when handing down his Judgment in the recent case of Andrew Chell v Tarmac Cement and Lime Limited [2020] EWHC 2613, the latest in a series of appeals dealing with the scope of vicarious liability.


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up