QOCS conundrums

One of the areas of the LASPO reforms which remains notoriously “rough around the edges”, is the subject matter of QOCS or QUOCS as it is sometimes called. I argued a case in the Court of Appeal earlier this week on one aspect of the reforms.

Before Christmas I argued another issue on QOCS in the Nottingham County Court before District Judge Hale, sitting as a Regional Costs Judge. A copy of the judgment can be found here Cartwright Approved final judgment.

The decision may be of interest in cases where there are multiple Defendants, particularly as the District Judge declined to follow an earlier decision in the Newcastle County Court, which can be found here: Bowman v Norfran Aluminium HH Judge Freedman County Court at Newcastle 11th August 2017 Approved judgment.

In particular terms, it raises questions as to whether and to what extent a successful Defendant can recoup its costs from a settlement paid over to a Claimant by another Defendant. The argument is of particular relevance to industrial disease claims for NIHL, HAVS etc but could arise in any number of other situations eg where both a GP and a NHS trust are sued for clinical negligence.

In the aftermath of the hearing the Learned District Judge gave permission to appeal to the Defendant and the matter has now been transferred to the Court of Appeal.

There remain a number of other intriguing points in relation to QOCS which may yet fall to be raised in further cases, even though we are now fast approaching the fifth anniversary of the implementation of LASPO 2012.

One comment

  1. The ”absurd” scenario which did not come up in Cartwright is the case of the colluding jointly and severally liable defendants. As you say, NIHL and clinical negligence are good examples.

    Defendant A makes an offer that satisfies the claim and Defendant B recoups, to the value of the offer, his costs on acceptance of the offer.

    Obviously, Tomlin Orders are the way to go, where available.

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