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What Is 'Unreasonable Behaviour' for the Purposes of Small Claims Track Costs? - Thomas Crockett, 1 Chancery Lane

01/05/17. If the most recently mooted Government reforms as to the financial limit of the Small Claims Track of the County Court go through, litigants will increasingly find themselves litigating within a regime with extremely tight strictures as to the recoverability of litigation costs. As all with experience of such cases will know, there is an exception per CPR 27.14(2)(g) to the effect that further costs may be assessed summarily in cases where one or other party has behaved “unreasonably”... whatever that means?

The Court of Appeal (Longmore and McFarlane LJJ) have provided some clarity to this oft cited but perhaps rarely met test in a joint ruling in the case of Dammermann v Lanyon Bowdler LLP [2017] EWCA Civ 269, where they refer back to the test for wasted costs in the well-known and now somewhat historic case of Ridehalgh v Horsefield. They urged caution however, reminding the County Court benches that floodgates should not be seen to have opened and that litigants should not be easily deterred from using the Small Claims Track due to the spectre of such findings.

Their Lordships put it best...

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