Kerry Underwood

RECOVERING COSTS OF ATTENDING INQUESTS

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The matters dealt with in this piece are examined in great detail in my three volume, 1,300 page book Personal Injury Small Claims, Portals and Fixed Costs – price £50 and available from Underwoods Solicitors here.

Kerry Underwood offers consultancy services in relation to this and other matters and details are here.

 

In

Fullick & Ors v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2019] EWHC 1941 (QB) (25 July 2019)

the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court held that the costs of attending an Inquest are potentially recoverable in a claim for damages following death, but the court must ensure that the costs allowed are reasonably necessary and proportionate in the pursuit of the civil claim, but proportionality does not just relate to the sums of money involved and the bill should set out sufficient detail to enable the Costs Judge to assess whether the sums claimed related to investigation of the civil claim.

The importance of the matters to the deceased family must be taken into account when considering proportionality, as well as the value of the claim.

It should also be noted that Inquests often led to the speedy resolution of the civil proceedings.

Here the claimants brought an action against the defendant following the death of a relative, and the Inquest lasted seven days and the jury held that there had been inadequate police policies, procedures and training; the action was then settled without service of a Letter of Claim or Particulars of Claim, for £18,798.

The claimants’ bill totalled £122,000, including the costs of attending two pre-inquest hearings and the Deputy Master allowed those costs and the defendant appealed on the ground that the costs of attending the Inquest should not be recoverable at all here, although accepting that they could be recovered in an appropriate case.

This is believed to be the first decision in relation to the recoverability of inquest costs since the Jackson reforms were implemented in 2013.

Here, the court held that authorities prior to the introduction of the Jackson reforms were still binding, and therefore the fact of this was the first case on this point since those reforms was not relevant.

The High Court reviewed the case law on recoverability of the costs of Inquests, saying that each case will depend upon its own facts, but first the court should consider whether any of the costs of an Inquest can in principle be claimed in the civil proceedings, and once that threshold of relevance has been passed then the Costs Judge will decide whether the costs claimed in respect of the Inquest were proportionate to the matters in issue in the civil proceedings.

That will be dealt with in the normal way that proportionality is dealt with in any other case.

 

Please see –

COSTS ROUND-UP

LEGAL OMBUDSMAN: AN OMBUDSMAN’S VIEW OF GOOD COSTS SERVICE SECOND EDITION

COURTS MUST NOT CONSIDER JACKSON REFORMS ETC. SAYS COURT OF APPEAL

Written by kerryunderwood

August 7, 2019 at 8:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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