QOCS Protection Extends to Appeals

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Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by Brett Anderson

The reserved judgment of J Edis in the case of Parker v Butler was handed down yesterday. The question to be determined was whether the Claimant enjoyed the benefit of the QOCS regime when appealing the first instance decision to dismiss their claim; the Claimant’s appeal also having also been subsequently dismissed.

The Court found that, where there is the absence of any decision under CPR 52.9A, there was no authority as to whether QOCS applied or not. Accordingly the decision reached was more one of public policy rather than law. It was considered that the purpose of QOCS was primarily to provide access to justice. Given that the merits of any appeal would be dealt with at the early stage in the form of permission, cases proceeding would enjoy real prospects of success or there would be a compelling reason for the appeal to be heard. It was held in accordance with public policy that a Claimant with an appeal which has been tested for merit without significant costs should be availed of QOCS protection. In doing so it prevents such appeals being deterred by potential adverse costs implications.
Accordingly the Court held that the order for cost was not enforceable against the Claimant as QOCS applied and there were no damages against which the costs order could be enforced.

Not an unsurprising outcome in my mind and will be a pleasing outcome for Claimants and their lawyers I’ve no doubt.

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