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Costs: Ahmed and Panache Leasing Ltd v Ahmed [2021] EWHC 1021 (Ch) - Harry Peto, Temple Garden Chambers

13/05/21. This was a dispute between two brothers, one being the director of the Second Claimant. The Claimants claimed that the Defendant, who used to work for the Second Claimant, misappropriated large sums of money and assets, while the Defendant counterclaimed for 50% of the shares in the Second Claimant. There was a rather involved procedural history.

A skeleton argument was submitted by the Claimants which did not comply with the Chancery Guide and did little to assist the Court. The Defendant were late in sending their skeleton argument to the Court. Neither skeleton argument made clear what the Court must decide or how it was to decide it. Witness statements were also inadequate. A brief adjournment was held in order that counsel may narrow, or at least define the issues. They were unable to reach any agreement.

The Court dealt with the issues as best as it could, much of its decision being to order the parties to include various matters in their witness statements so that the dispute could be clarified. The way in which the applications of each side had been prepared was described as ‘lamentable’. Therefore the entirety of the costs were disallowed: no order as to costs was ordered in respect of the Claimant’s latest application or the Defendant’s, and also in respect of the costs that had been reserved at two previous interim hearings. If the Defendant’s application remains a live issue in the future (whether it would was left unclear by the Defendant’s counsel), future costs could be determined at any future hearing. The parties were also to draw this Judgment to the attention of the Court should any future interim application be made by either party.

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