Webb (by her litigation friend) v Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust – WLR Daily

Posted April 20th, 2016 in costs, indemnities, law reports, negligence, personal injuries by sally

Webb (by her litigation friend) v Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust [2016] EWCA Civ 365

‘The claimant succeeded in her claim against the defendant for medical negligence in the management of her birth, during which she suffered a Brachial Plexus Injury as a result of shoulder dystocia. The claimant had earlier made a CPR Pt 36 offer to settle liability on the basis that she received 65% of the damages that would accrue on a 100% basis, which had been rejected by the defendant. The judge upheld the first allegation under the claim, namely that the defendant had been negligent in not performing a caesarean section during the claimant’s delivery and held that as she had succeeded in establishing that her injury was caused by the defendant’s negligence, she was accordingly entitled to 100% of her claimed damages even though she had been unsuccessful in other specific allegations, including a freestanding second limb of the claim that the delivery itself was negligently managed. On the issue of costs, the claimant contended that because of the defendant’s refusal to accept the Part 36 offer of settlement which had been bettered by the claimant, the consequences of what was then CPR r 36.14(3) (now CPR r 36.17, as amended by The Civil Procedure (Amendment No 8) Rules (SI 2014/3299), reg 7, Sch 1) applied and as a result the court was unable to make an issues-based order, Part 36 comprising as it did an all or nothing self-contained regime; and that she should have all her costs on an indemnity basis from the expiry of the relevant period plus interest thereon at the enhanced “Part 36 rate” plus the enhancements specified in Part 36.14(3)(a) and (d). The defendant submitted that the normal cost consequences of CPR r 36.14(3) should be disapplied because, by reference to CPR r 36.14(4), in the circumstances, it would be unjust to apply them; that CPR Part 36 did not prevent the court from making an issues-based or proportionate costs order to reflect the fact that the claimant failed in respect of the second allegation, which was a discrete and independent allegation and that such an order was appropriate; and that therefore the claimant’s costs referable to the first allegation should be awarded with the CPR Part 36 enhancements but not those in respect of the unsuccessful second allegation. The judge held that (a) the engagement of the CPR Pt 36 cost consequences did not preclude the court from making an issues-based or proportionate costs order and the court had a discretion to make such an order, notwithstanding that the claimant was a successful claimant; and (b) that, in the circumstances of the case, it was just to make an issues-based proportionate costs order, under which the claimant would not recover her costs of the second allegation. He ordered that the claimant should recover her damages to be assessed with the 10% addition required by CPR r 36.14(3)(d), plus her costs, excluding those referable to the second allegation and that those costs, incurred after 22 October 2014, were to be assessed on an indemnity basis pursuant to CPR r 36.14(3)(d). The claimant appealed on the grounds that (a) on the true construction of Part 36, the discretion of the court under CPR r 36.14(3) was restricted to the enhancements to which a successful claimant was normally entitled in respect of damages, costs and interest, that the court did not have power under Part 36 to deprive a party of part of its costs on the basis that it had failed to establish part of its claim and that Part 36 excluded the normal discretion of the court to make an issues-based or proportionate costs order; (b) alternatively, that a successful claimant could only be deprived of her costs if it was shown that it would be unjust for her to recover all her costs; and (c) that the judge had erred in law in deciding that he could and should deprive the claimant of her costs attributable to the second allegation.’

WLR Daily, 14th April 2016

Source: www.iclr.co.uk