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Voice and Script International v Alghafar, Court of Appeal, 8 May 2003

14 May 2003
The issues

Costs – Small Claims Track – Allocation.

The facts

The Claimant’s claim related to a sub-contract made with the Defendant for the sub-titling of films. The total claim amounted to £9,040.00 as originally presented, but was subsequently reduced. At a Disposal Hearing, £4,002.43 was awarded. The claim had never been allocated. The District Judge awarded costs to the Claimant on the basis that since Judgment had been entered for the Claimant and it had never been allocated, the costs principles applying to small claims did not apply. The Defendant appealed.

The decision

1. At the Disposal Hearing it was finally conceded that the true maximum value of the claim was under £5,000.00.

2. The District Judge had mis-directed himself by treating the absence of allocation as conclusive.

3. A failure to allocate did not prevent a Court from considering whether it was reasonable to make an assessment in accordance with the Small Claims Regime.

4. Generally, in situations where had a claim been allocated, it would have been allocated to the Small Claims Court, the Small Claims Costs Regime should apply.

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