The post-Jackson Report introduction of qualified one-way costs shifting, coupled with the impact of section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, are examined in this surprisingly interesting book by legal blogger Kerry Underwood.
The book gives a fascinating introduction to the origins of QOCS, pointing out that QOCS was originally introduced in 1277 by the Statute of Gloucester.
An interesting historical background aside, this book is primarily a very practical one. It will be of considerable assistance to any personal injury practitioner or costs specialist, particularly when faced with allegations that a claim is fundamentally dishonest, or that a claimant has been fundamentally dishonest in relation to the claim. Exceptions to QOCS and the dismissal of claims pursuant to section 57 are covered in detail.
A useful short chapter looks at the right of set-off of costs in the context of claims otherwise subject to QOCS. The book includes the relevant statutory material and provisions of the CPR, making it a self-contained guide.
Underwood is not afraid to set out his opinions on issues where the law is unclear. If you are looking for a view on any QOCS-related point, it is probably covered.
The book is not without faults, however. The detailed contents will probably be enough to enable the practitioner to find the answer to any QOCS or section 57 point, but the absence of an index is unfortunate. Similarly, while the book considers a wide range of authorities, many of which are unreported, there is no table of cases indicating where the same are dealt with in the book.
Writer: Kerry Underwood
£25, Law Abroad Publishers
Moreover, the list of cases referred to at the end of the book contains some glaring omissions, such as Wagenaar v Weekend Travel Limited, despite that decision being referred to on a number of occasions in the book.
But these are minor quibbles with a book that is comprehensive in its coverage of the subject and which must surely be essential reading for PI practitioners. Updates available online mean that the practitioner can immediately check for any developments.
If a practitioner has a QOCS point, this must be the first port of call. I would anticipate seeing it referred to in many a skeleton argument, hopefully with appropriate attribution.
PJ Kirby QC is a barrister at Hardwicke Chambers, specialising in commercial and costs law. He is a former solicitor