Kerry Underwood


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In October I am delivering my new course – Getting the Retainer Right – in 7 cities – details and booking form here.

In Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain v Central Arbitration Committee (Defendant) and Roofoods Ltd (t/a Deliveroo) (interested party) [2018] EWHC 1939 (Admin) [2018] IRLR 911

the Administrative Division of the High Court refused to make a Costs Capping Order when allowing an application for judicial review to proceed.

The court has power under CPR 46.16 to limit or remove the liability a claimant may have on judicial review for the costs of the interested party.

Here the applicant union contended that the proceedings were in the public interest within the meaning of section 88(7) of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 because the employment status of delivery riders is of common interest to hundreds of thousands of individuals in Britain engaged in the gig economy, and the issue raises a matter of general public importance.

The claimant relied on the fact that it was a small independent trade union whose members are low paid workers and that it had limited financial means and negligible assets whereas Deliveroo has substantial resources.

Solicitors and counsel had both acted pro bono throughout.

The court refused the application holding that the proceedings were brought by the trade union to secure recognition for itself and on behalf of its members and for their benefit and those members paid subscriptions to the union for it to act as a union on their behalf in just of these circumstances.

The status of workers was highly fact sensitive to any given case and therefore a decision in one case did not affect the decision in another case.

Therefore the court’s decision was not of common interest to all workers in the gig economy.

The court took the view, surprisingly one might think, that the outcome of the case would not form any sort of precedent for other companies or industries in the gig economy.

Therefore the issues were not of general public importance nor of public interest.

The court also took into account the fact that the claimant had launched a crowdfunding appeal and had stated that it had raised around £23,000, and therefore the court did not accept that it had limited financial means.


It is hard to see that there will be many cases where the court will impose a Costs Capping Order if it sets the bar as high as will set in this case.

An unfortunate decision in relation to costs.


Written by kerryunderwood

October 8, 2018 at 7:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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