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Royal Bank of Canada v Secretary of State for Defence, Chancery Division

19 August 2003
The issues

Costs – Mediation – ADR.

The facts

The Claimant was a landlord of property. The Defendant tenant had served notices seeking to terminate a lease. The Claimant argued that the Notices were not validly served. At Trial, the Judge found that the Notices were validly served and that the lease had been terminated. The Defendant asked for costs. The Claimant resisted the Application on the basis that it had on a number of occasions expressed a willingness to mediate the claim and that the Defendant had refused to do so.

The decision

1. On the 23rd March 2001, the Lord Chancellor’s Department as it then was issued a Press Notice setting out a formal pledge committing Government departments and agencies to settle legal cases by ADR techniques whenever the other side agreed.

2. This claim was one suitable for ADR.

3. The formal pledge given on behalf of all Government departments was something, which the Judge had to take into account and to which he had to attach great weight. Generally, following Dunnett v Railtrack, a willingness to mediate was something, which was significant in deciding where costs should lie. No Order for costs would be made.

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