In a reserved judgment handed down on 14th December 2022, Master Stevens gave her decision in an interesting case on a potential escape route for a defendant from the full rigour of the Qualified One Way Costs Shifting (QOCS) regime.

In a serious personal injury case, a claimant chose to accept a part 36 offer of £250,000 some 20 months after the time for acceptance had expired.

The usual order for costs was made, with the claimant entitled to his costs up until 21 days after the offer was made and with the claimant to pay the defendant’s costs thereafter. But the claimant sought to rely on QOCS, and made the point that the defendant could not enforce the costs Order in his favour.

The defendant refused to pay the settlement of £250,000 and forced the claimant to apply for an order for payment.

The defendant then attempted to argue that this order for payment, was “an order for damages and interest” and the defendant could enforce the costs Order in his favour against this order.

In a careful and detailed judgment, Master Stevens explained why this argument did not work, and why the Defendant had to pay the settlement without deductions.

Andrew Hogan appeared for the successful claimant in the case of Chappell v Mrozek [2022] EWHC 3147.

View the judgement here

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