Kerry Underwood

RE-ALLOCATION OF CLAIMS

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In Francois v Barclays Bank plc [2017] EWHC 3531 (QB)

the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court allowed an appeal against a costs order, made by a circuit judge.

The order required the claimant to pay the defendant’s costs ,in respect of her race discrimination claim, on a fast track basis from a date when “it appeared” that the claim ,originally allocated to the small claims track, had been re-allocated to the fast track.

When making the costs order, the judge had said that he was “going to infer” that, on 21 January 2010, the matter had been re-allocated to the fast track.

The claimant submitted that, in finding that the case had been re-allocated to the fast track, even though there was no court order to that effect, the judge had misdirected himself in law.

On appeal, the High Court made the following points:

  • allocation of a case to a particular track is significant: not only for the procedure, but also for costs.

In the small claims track, claimants’ costs exposure is minimal (unless there is unreasonable conduct under CPR 27.14(2)(g)).

  • CPR 26.9 requires notification of the allocation of a claim to a particular track, a decision that can be appealed under PD 26.11.1.
  • Re-allocation has the same significance and importance as the original allocation.

The High Court Judge held that there is a requirement for re-allocation of a case to a different track to be notified to the parties.

Although a letter from the Central London Civil Justice Centre, dated 25 March 2010, referred to listing the case as fast track,  it could not be inferred from it that the court had made an order re-allocating the claim ,whether on 21 January 2010 or at all.

The date of re-allocation of a claim is “of considerable significance”, as the new costs regime applies from that date.

Consequently, it is “material and significant” for the parties, and the court, to know the date, and not just the rough time, that a decision to re-allocate is made.

The circuit judge erred in law, and also reached a conclusion that was not open to him on the evidence.

Therefore, the appeal succeeded and the costs order was set aside.

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Written by kerryunderwood

April 26, 2018 at 8:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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