ISSUING SMALL CLAIMS WITH COST-BEARING CLAIMS
This blog has been updated to 21 June 2016.
the court held that it was appropriate for three claims arising out of a road traffic accident to be included on one claim form and to be allocated to the Fast-Track even though only one claim was potentially a Fast-Track claim and the other two were small claims which settled for £550.00 each.
Furthermore it was appropriate for Fast-Track cost consequences to follow in relation to all three claims.
The claimants were a mother and two children and the children’s claims were the lower value ones and they all started off in the Road Traffic Accident Portal and the defendants put the claimants to proof that they had actually been passengers in the vehicle at the relevant time.
No offers to settle were made and so the claims exited the portal and the defendant challenged the claimants’ decision to issue all of the claims on one claim form and also the judge’s decision to award Fast-Track costs in all three claims.
The judge noted that the defendant had not sought to settle the claims at an earlier stage and that the claimant was entitled to use one claim form and had the claimant used three separate forms she would have been open to an argument that there had been an unnecessary duplication of court issue fees.
Having allocated the claims to the Fast-Track the court was entitled to award Fast-Track costs. The smaller claims would not ordinarily have been allocated to the Small Claims Track as they were properly and correctly brought alongside the larger claim.
However Newport County Court, on 31 May 2016, had a similar case where there were two successful claimants but the second claimant was awarded just £200.00 in damages, this had a twist in the tale in that the judge accepted that in principle both claimants were entitled to the full fixed costs, and also the full separate advocacy fee but was clearly unhappy about awarding that level of fixed costs – in excess of £3,000.00 – to a claimant who had recovered £200.00.
Consequently what the judge did was to reallocate the case to the small claims track after giving judgment and award fixed costs of £80.00!
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