Carver v BAA Plc [2008] EWCA Civ 412

Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

The Claimant was an air hostess who suffered a personal injury at Gatwick Airport on 31/03/03. Liability was admitted on 24/07/03. On 17/11/05, the Defendant made an offer to settle in the sum of £4,006, to include a previous interim payment in the sum of £520. On 06/06/06 the Defendant made a Part 36 payment into Court in the sum of £4,000, which did not take into account the interim payment previously made of £520, therefore the total offer was £4,520. This offer was rejected by the Claimant on 18/09/06. On 25/05/07, the Defendant made an offer of £20,000 inclusive of damages, interest and costs. On the same day, the Claimant made a Part 36 offer to settle the claim for £12,500 plus costs. This offer was then withdrawn and the Claimant offered to settle the matter for £20,000 plus costs. However, no agreement was reached and the matter proceeded to Trial.

The Claimant was awarded damages in the sum of £4,686.26 which was inclusive of interest, which amounted to £51 more than the payment made into Court. The Claimant sought costs in the region of £80,000, which included a 100% success fee.

The Judge was of the view that the Claimant had not succeeded in obtaining a judgment which was more advantageous than the Defendant’s offer in that an excess of a few pounds did not make the judgment more advantageous. He found it unjust for the Defendant to pay the costs and invoked rule 36.14(2) in CPR and awarded the Defendant costs from 27/06/06. In light of the pre-issue offer of £4,006 on 17/11/05, the Judge made no order for costs between November 2005 and June 2006. The Claimant was awarded costs on the fast track costs basis from the letter of claim to November 2005. The Clamant appealed.

In the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Ward found that in light of the change to CPR 36, which came into effect on 06/04/07, where non-money claims and money claims were to be treated in the same way, the phrase ‘more advantageous’ allowed a more wide-ranging view of all the circumstances and facts of a case when deciding whether a judgment was worth the fight. Therefore the Judge was correct in looking at the case broadly. The appeal was dismissed.

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