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Loader v Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust, Bristol County Court, 6 June 2003

12 June 2003
The issues

Costs – Proportionality – CCFA – Collective Conditional Fee Agreement – Success Fee – Insurance Premium – ATE Premium – Charging Rates.

The facts

Claimant claimed damages against her employer for personal injuries. The letter of claim was sent on 22nd November 2000. Part 36 Offers were made by both sides and liability was admitted on behalf of the Defendant on the 23rd May 2001.

There were no issues of causation or contributory negligence. The case settled for £6,300.00, without the need of proceedings being issued. It was funded by a CCFA, supported by an Insurance Premium entered into only on the 6th March 2002.

The ATE Premium was £840.00. A success fee of 35% was claimed. The total Bill of Costs was £5,447.91. The matter came to Detailed Assessment, following the issue of costs only proceedings.

The decision

1. The Detailed Assessment would be adjourned, the Claimant being ordered to disclose to the Defendant the CCFA within 14 days.

2. The Bill of Costs was not proportionate. Liability had been admitted at an earlier stage. There were no medical complications. Proceedings had never been issued.

3. Although Grade A Bristol charging rates were claimed, the applicable rates were those in the Bournemouth County Court, bearing in mind that the Claimant and the Defendant were both resident in that area and that the accident occurred in Bournemouth.

4. It was reasonable to incur an ATE Premium because there had been a minor risk to the Claimant following the making of Part 36 Offers by both Defendant and Claimant. However, the premium was too high and would be allowed at £420.00.

5. The success fee was too high and would be reduced to 15%. Costs and disbursements would be allowed at £3,253.38, subject to disclosure of the CCFA, and a ruling as to its enforceability. A payment of £3,500.00 had been made by the Defendant on account of costs and accordingly the Claimant was ordered to pay Defendant’s costs of Detailed Assessment in the sum of £1,123.60.

Comments

For further information please contact mariemacfarlane@vpinsurance.net or John Allen at lcjdallen943@aol.com.

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