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When Can a Claimant Recover the Costs of Attending an Inquest? - Malcolm Henke, Horwich Farrelly

22/03/18. It is understandable that solicitors involved in making civil claims want to be paid for the work they undertake. However, there are two hurdles to be negotiated on the way to securing payment. First, the work for which the claimant seeks to recover the cost must have been (a) of use and service in the claim; (b) relevant to the matters in issue in the claim; and (c) attributable to the defendants’ conduct. These tests arise from the case of Gibson’s Settlement Trust (1981) and all three limbs must be passed. Secondly, any costs that pass the Gibson tests must then be proportionate in amount, meaning that they must bear a reasonable relationship to

(a) the sums in issue in the proceedings;

(b) the value of any non-monetary relief in issue in the proceedings;

(c) the complexity of the litigation;

(d) any additional work generated by the conduct of the paying party; and

(e) any wider factors involved in the proceedings, such as reputation or public importance [Part 44.3(5) Civil Procedure Rules].

Both of these issues came before the court in the recent case of Douglas v Ministry of Defence and another and in relation to a relatively common area of concern: could the claimant justify the cost of attendance at the lengthy inquest into the cause of her son’s death in prison...

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