Roach v Home Office & Matthews v Home Office [2009] EWHC 312 (QB)

Posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

These were appeal matters concerning the issue of whether the costs for attending an inquest could be recovered in subsequent civil proceedings.

The claims arose out of deaths in custody. Successful civil proceedings were brought following the inquests by the Claimants’ representatives. Claims for costs were made and substantial proportions of the costs were attributable to Counsel and Solicitors attending the inquests.

It was argued by the Defendants that the costs of attending the inquests were not recoverable and that there was a binding rule that costs incurred in prior proceedings could never be recovered in subsequent proceedings. However, it was argued by the Claimants that the inquest costs were of and incidental to the civil proceedings.

Originally, half of the inquest participation costs in Roach had been allowed as the involvement had been to both help the coroner and to gather evidence. In Matthews, 100% of the costs were allowed in principal as it was decided that the Claimant was not prohibited from recovering the costs of the inquest in the later civil claim.

The Defendant appealed in the Matthews matter and the Claimant appealed in the Roach matter.

It was held that the costs of attending inquests were of and incidental to the proceedings. In Roach, the original decision was overturned and the costs were to be remitted to the Costs Judge for assessment. The appeal in Matthews was dismissed.

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