No.8 of 2002
Inline Logistics Ltd v UCI Logistics Ltd
27 March 2002
Mr Justice Ferris sitting with Assessors
The defendants were sued by the claimants for damages for breach of a joint venture agreement, and/or misuse of the claimant's confidential information, and, shortly before that trial was due to be heard in May 2000, the defendants took out insurance against the risk of incurring a costs liability, for which they paid a premium of £40,000, plus insurance tax of £2,000. Ultimately, after a five day trial, and in a reserved judgment, the same Judge found in favour of the defendants and dismissed the claim.
The issue before the Costs Judge, and on appeal, was whether in the circumstances the defendants were entitled to recover, as part of their costs of the action, the £42,000. It was accepted that the case raised a point of law and construction, and there was no argument as to the quantum.
It will be noted that the insurance was effected in the "twilight period" between the coming into force of Section 29 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 on 1 April 2000, and the amendment to the Rules entitling recovery of insurance premiums on 3 July 2000. The Judge in a very careful analysis of the relevant statutory and regulatory provisions, notably Section 29 itself, CPR 44.15, Section 19 of the Costs Practice Direction, and Regulation 39 of the Civil Procedure (Amendment No.3) Rules 2000, held that though there were no relevant regulatory provisions in place at the time that the insurance policy was effected, the defendants were nevertheless entitled to recover the costs thereof, because of the primacy and unambiguity of Section 29.