Kris Motor Spares Ltd v Fox Williams LLP [2010] EWHC 1008 (QB)

Posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

The recoverability of ATE insurance premiums was the issue in this matter.

The Defendant had acted for the Claimant in litigation under a CFA against a firm of stockbrokers. The Defendant raised its Bill and the Claimant considered it excessive. Detailed assessment was applied for by the Claimant. The determination of a preliminary issue of whether the Defendant had lawfully terminated the CFA was ordered by Master Rogers. This preliminary issue was heard over 4 days, which commenced on 16/12/08. The Defendant served an N251 on 16/12/08 on the Claimant which informed them that the Defendant had taken out an ATE insurance policy regarding the trial of the preliminary issue.

It was held that the CFA had been lawfully terminated by the Defendant and the Claimant was ordered to pay the costs of the assessment proceedings. The Claimant appealed the decision but the appeal was dismissed and the Claimant was ordered to pay the costs of the appeal.

The detailed assessment took place and the Defendant’s costs payable by the Claimant were £249,208.02 which include the ATE insurance premium of £95,550 (inc. IPT) which was to obtain cover for £130,000 (with a rate of 73.5%). The Claimant contended that the premium was excessive and disproportionate and that it was unreasonable to take the premium out at such a late stage.

The appeal was dismissed and it was held that under Section 29 of the Access to Justice Act 1999, that ATE premiums were recoverable from the paying party. There was no principle of law that stating that a late policy was an unreasonable policy and there was an evidential burden on the paying party to advance at least some material in support of the contention that the premium is unreasonable.

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