Group M v Cabinet Office  EWHC 3863 (TCC), concerns the costs of an “interested party”. The court held that this party should get their costs, but it was argued that these costs should be assessed as nil as the schedule had been served late. It had only been served around 3 hours prior to judgment being handed down and Akenhead J notes that there could not be summary assessment of the costs at the conclusion of the trial as counsel for the paying party had not had time to consider the same.
Mitchell and Denton were considered, and the Judge applied the 3 stage test.
- it was a serious and significant breach as the purpose of the rule was frustrated, and the court and the parties were put to limited extra trouble as submissions were written rather than being made orally immediately at the conclusion of the judgment.
- The default was understandable due to last minute negotiations and service of bundles. The Judge accepted that it would have been difficult to finalise the schedule much before the time it did.
- It would be wholly unjust to refuse all costs due to the breach (paragraphs 64-5 of Denton considered); the breach was at the lower end of serious, there is no specific sanction, the court was not unduly inconvenienced, the denial of all costs would be disproportionate.
A further breach of the rules was raised in that there was no schedule produced showing a break down of the costs involved in dealing with documents.
A summary assessment was carried out, and there was a reduction made for the delay and breach of the CPR. This was a reduction of £2,240 where the costs claimed were £70,072, and costs awarded were £40,127.