Cookson v Manchester City Council
HHJ Main QC, Manchester CC, 28.04.17
In this case, the claim had started in the MOJ Portal but then left. Proceedings were settled by way of Part 36. The Defendant argued that the claim had unreasonably left the Portal and that the Claimant should be restricted to no more than Portal costs, per CPR 45.24. However, the court found there was no discretion to award Portal costs where there had been acceptance of a Part 36 offer.
Click here for a copy of the judgment.
It seems unlikely that the Rules Committee intended that where a claimant has acted unreasonably in leaving the Portal, they could evade the costs consequences of their unreasonable behaviour simply by making a Part 36 offer. This is particularly so when one considers the parties could not make costs bearing Part 36 offers whilst a claim is in the portal (CPR 36.24(4), and the clear indication given in 45.29A(4). It also appears that the court was not referred to the binding CA case of Solomon v Cromwell which decided that Part 36 offers do not preclude awarding fixed costs. It appears this is another badly drafted rule. An amendment would do much to add clarity to the position.