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The Court of Appeal Clarifies The Meaning of 'Proceedings' In CPR 44.15 - Sebastian Bates, Temple Garden Chambers

23/11/22. Achille v Lawn Tennis Association Ltd [2022] Ewca Civ 1407


As Males LJ explained at [4], ‘CPR 44.15 allows a defendant to enforce a costs order made against a claimant [in a personal injury case] to its full extent without needing permission from the court in three categories of case’, namely ‘(1) where the claimant has disclosed no reasonable ground for bringing the proceedings, (2) where the proceedings are an abuse of the court's process and (3) where the claimant is personally responsible for conduct which is likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings’.

The present case had started as a mixed claim—defined at [5] as ‘claims in which [claimants] seek damages for personal injury together with damages for other losses’—because the claimant had sought damages for psychiatric injury as well as injury to feelings: see [7]. The claim for psychiatric injury had been struck out as the statement of case disclosed no reasonable ground for bringing it. A costs order had consequently been made against the claimant in the sum of £4,250.

The question for the Court of Appeal was whether the reference to ‘the proceedings’ in CPR 44.15 is to a claim for personal injury (in which case the costs order could be enforced to its full extent immediately) or to all the claims made in a single action (in which case the costs order could not be enforced immediately as the claim for injury to feelings had survived).


Males LJ took as his starting point (at [20]–[21]) that ‘proceedings are synonymous with an action, which is not concluded until all matters before the court have been concluded. He proceeded to acknowledge (at [22]) that ‘[c]ase law has established that the term “proceedings” as used in the QOCS rules does not bear this natural meaning in its full sense’. However, he took the view (at [26]) that there had already been ‘a clear decision that the term “proceedings” in CPR 44.13 refers to all of the claims made by a claimant against a single defendant, when one such claim is a claim for personal injury’.

It followed (at [28]) that the issue was ‘whether “proceedings” in CPR 44.15 should be given a different meaning from that which it bears elsewhere in the QOCS rules’. This possibility—‘not a promising submission’, as Males LJ put it—was considered and rejected at [29]–[38].

Conclusion and Comment

As such, Males LJ accepted that the reference to ‘proceedings’ in CPR 44.15 is to all the claims made in a single action. This is likely to be welcomed by claimants. However, all those practising in the field will wish to note Males LJ’s confidence, in coming to this conclusion, in the court’s ‘power in [a] mixed claim case to make whatever order it considers will meet the justice of the situation’ under CPR 44.16: see [34].

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