Haynes v BIS — claimants’ costs are the defendants’ problem

By Chris Wilson

The High Court has reversed a lower court’s decision that an unsuccessful defendant is only liable for a percentage of the successful claimant’s costs where a claim was pursued but not followed through against other liable defendants. Instead, the unsuccessful defendant has to pay all of the common costs that would have been incurred in any event.

The subject of the claim was a divisible asbestos-related disease. A claim was issued but not served against 10 different defendants. The claimant then accepted a Part 36 offer from one defendant for £18,000, slightly less than 10 per cent of the value of the claim, and although liability was not disputed the claim was discontinued against the other nine defendants. A full bill was served on the defendant.

The original decision of the court was that the defendant was only liable for one tenth of the claimant’s costs. However, on appeal, this was overturned with the appeal court dividing the claimant’s costs into two recoverable categories…

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