A Court of Appeal ruling which denied costs recovery for additional disbursements will not be challenged in the Supreme Court – but that might not be the end of the matter.
The Supreme Court confirmed this week that permission to appeal in Aldred v Cham had been refused because the application did not raise a point of law of general public importance.
But the three-man panel, consisting of Lords Hodge, Briggs and Leggatt, added that it was appropriate for the Civil Procedure Rules Committee to reconsider the matter. The appellant was ordered to pay the costs of the application.
Solicitors representing the claimant in Aldred had argued that last year’s appeal court ruling would mean those with language or disability issues would incur extra expenditure in relation to court hearings.
Their argument was supported by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Personal Injury Bar Association who both sought to intervene in the appeal.
Lord Justice Coulson had ruled that the status of the RTA claimant in Aldred as a child, or as someone who could not speak English, was not relevant to the dispute itself.
‘Age, linguistic ability and mental wellbeing are all characteristics of the claimant regardless of the dispute,’ the judge said. ‘They are not generated by or linked in any way to the dispute itself.’
He upheld the appeal by the defendant to deny recovery of disbursements for work that did not fall within the fixed recoverable costs regime.
The judgment had prompted one translation company owner to suggest she might have to pull out of the legal market because of the fear she might not be paid for work. Defendant solicitors said the judgment promoted certainty by reducing the scope of argument about what could be recovered.