The latest controversy affecting those involved in litigation is the way in which the courts will penalise one party for delaying a settlement and dragging out the litigation process. In two recent cases, where differing judgments were handed down, the controversy has been fuelled further.
The latest of these two is a case of Holmes v West London Mental Health NHS Trust where the Trust took some 16 months to accept an offer made by the claimant to settle. The claimant was seeking indemnity costs (more beneficial) from the defendants given the defendant’s conduct which had meant a delay in settlement as well as an increase in legal costs (which were entirely avoidable). Here the court held that the defendant’s conduct warranted an order for indemnity costs in favour of the claimants, thus effectively penalising the defendants for their conduct throughout the litigation.
Some defendants conduct litigation in an obstructive manner to dissuade claimants from bringing or pursuing a claim due to the prohibitive costs associated with litigation. It is hoped that the order made in this case will sound a warning to those defendants who conduct litigation utilising such tactics.
Should you or anyone you know have been affected by any issues raised in this article please do not hesitate to contact Parisa Costigan, Partner and Head of Department on 01403 224608 or email Parisa.Costigan@coolebevisllp.com.