CPR 44 and the Recent Updates to QOCS 2023

What is CPR 44

CPR 44 refers to Part 44 of the Civil Procedure Rules in England and Wales, which sets out the rules governing the recovery of costs in civil litigation. The rules cover a range of topics, including the general principles governing costs, the types of costs that can be claimed, the procedures for determining costs, and the consequences of non-compliance with the rules.

Here are some of the key points covered by CPR 44:

  • General Principles: The general principle is that the court will order the losing party to pay the winning party’s costs, subject to certain exceptions. The court has broad discretion to make orders regarding costs, and will take into account a range of factors, including the conduct of the parties, the complexity of the case, and the amount of costs claimed.
  • Types of Costs: The types of costs that can be claimed include solicitors’ fees, barristers’ fees, court fees, and other expenses incurred in the course of the litigation, such as expert witness fees and travel expenses. In general, the court will only allow reasonable and proportionate costs.
  • Costs Budgets: Parties are required to file and exchange costs budgets early in the litigation process, setting out the costs they expect to incur in the case. The court will then use these budgets to make decisions about costs as the case progresses.
  • Assessment of Costs: If the parties cannot agree on the amount of costs to be paid, the court will assess the costs. This involves a detailed review of the costs claimed, and the court will only allow costs that are deemed reasonable and proportionate.
  • Consequences of Non-Compliance: Parties who do not comply with the rules governing costs may face penalties, including the loss of the right to recover costs or the payment of additional costs. The court may also take into account any non-compliance when making decisions about costs.

Overall, CPR 44 is an important set of rules for anyone involved in civil litigation in England and Wales, as it governs the recovery of costs in these cases. It is important to understand the key principles and procedures set out in the rules in order to avoid potential penalties and ensure that costs are recovered in a fair and proportionate manner.

 

What is QOCS?

 

Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting (QOCS) is a legal principle in England and Wales that affects the recovery of costs in certain types of civil cases. It was introduced as part of the Jackson Reforms in 2013 and is now governed by Part 44 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

Under QOCS, in personal injury claims and other cases that involve a successful claimant seeking damages, the losing party generally cannot recover their legal costs from the winning party, except in certain circumstances. Furthermore, claimants who lose their case are not required to pay the defendant’s legal costs, unless the court decides that the claim was fundamentally dishonest, or if the claimant had no reasonable prospect of success and the claim was brought for an improper motive.

 

Changes to CPR 44 and the impact on QOCS

 

The Civil Procedure Rule Committee announced a change to QOCS rules which came into force in April 2023. The rule change ultimately allows defendants to enforce costs orders made in their favour against orders made in the favour of claimants.

CPR 44.14 now reads:

44.14

(1) Subject to rules 44.15 and 44.16, orders for costs made against a claimant may be enforced without the permission of the court but only to the extent that the aggregate amount in money terms of such orders does not exceed the aggregate amount in money terms of any orders for damages or agreements to pay or settle a claim for, damages, costs and interest made in favour of the claimant.

(2) For the purposes of this Section, orders for costs include orders for costs deemed to have been made (either against the claimant of in favour of the claimant) as set out in rule 44.9.

(3) Orders for costs made against a claimant may only be enforced after the proceedings have been concluded and the costs have been assessed or agreed.

(4) Where enforcement is permitted against any order for costs made in favour of the claimant, rule 44.12 applies.

(5) An order for costs which is enforced only to the extent permitted by paragraph (1) shall not be treated as an unsatisfied or outstanding judgment for the purposes of any court record.

The revised Rules now allow Defendants to recover costs up to the amount of any order, agreement, or settlement made in favour of the claimant for damages, costs, and interest. Due to this change in wording of CPR 44.14, successful claimants are now more exposed to the costs implications of Part 36 offers.

Furthermore, the Defendant’s costs can now be used to offset the Claimant’s costs, making the claimant more vulnerable to having to pay the outstanding balance if they do not recover enough in costs to pay the fees of their solicitor.

These changes mean that Claimants and their legal representatives should err on the side of caution when it comes to interim applications as there will be an increased risk of an adverse costs order being enforceable.

 

How can Greener Costs assist?

 

Greener Costs are a firm of costs lawyers and costs draftsmen with the expertise and experience required to assist both paying parties and receiving parties with all legal costs matters.

We offer many costing services from drafting costs budgets, bills of costs to representation at detailed assessment hearings, providing our services to clients across England and Wales.

Greener Costs is the UK’s first net positive legal costs company, and our aim is to assist your law farm in costs services whilst also helping you become more carbon neutral. Our operations are fully paperless, and we commit to planting 25 trees per instruction.

If you wish to speak to a member of the team here at Greener Costs then please contact us at 01204 263047info@greenercosts.co.uk or use the online form on our website below.

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