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Claimant Victory in Supreme Court Costs Decision Reverses Previous QOCS Ruling

Judge in court

(Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 41 seconds)

The Ho v Adelekun hearing at the Supreme Court has taken place and the decision has finally been handed down. This judgment has resulted in a major claimant victory.

It reverses the decision in Howe v MIB and reinforces the original intention of the QOCS regime; this being that, in cases where a Part 36 offer has been accepted out of time or unbeaten at trial, the defendants right to recover their costs is capped at the value of the damages that they pay to the claimant.

It was agreed previously between the parties that Ho be awarded the costs of her successful appeal, reported to be £48,600. The crux of the matter was whether she was able to set off her costs entitlement against her liability for Adelekun’s £16,700 costs of the claim.

Previously in April 2020 the Court of Appeal had decided that, but for it being bound by the prior decision in Howe v Motor Insurers’ Bureau (heard 29-30th  June, announced 6th July 2017), it would have agreed that a defendant should be able to recover costs awarded, but only by set-off against damages and interest; the claimant’s liability should not extend further to consume their pre-offer costs.

In recent years defendants in personal injury and clinical negligence matters have relied on the case of Howe v Motor Insurer Bureau [2017] EWCA Civ 932, to recover greater costs after successfully defending a Part 36 Offer. In this case, Lord Briggs and Lady Rose considered that the Court of Appeal was right to doubt whether Howe was correctly decided.

Here at Temple we have always maintained that the intention of the Jackson reforms was only ever to allow limited cost shifting relating to damages and not pre-offer costs. We have protected our policyholders interests by providing continued indemnity during this period of uncertainty and welcome this decision. It is one which will help us maintain access to affordable, high quality ATE insurance cover.

If you would like to discuss the implications of this decision in more detail, please do call me on 01483 514804 or send an email to .

Matthew Best Cert CII

Head of Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
Read articles by Matthew Best Cert CII

Matthew Best Cert CII

Matt has an insurance background and joined Temple in 2011 having worked for 4 years in a leading insurance company where he was dealing with personal injury work. Matthew was promoted to Underwriting Manager and subsequently Senior Underwriting Manager taking on overall responsibility for Temple’s personal injury and clinical negligence underwriting department.

In 2022 Matt joined the board of directors as Director of ATE Partnerships. Matthew has cultivated fantastic relationships with our business partners for many years. His ability to build a clear understanding of their requirements and more importantly what is required to fulfil such requirements means he is ideally placed to support the strategic direction of the company.

Matt remains the head of the personal injury and clinical negligence department and is committed to all Temple’s business partners in order to deliver the highest level of service they expect. He is also responsible in making sure that Temple’s ATE and disbursement funding products remain competitive, but most importantly that they are fit for purpose for solicitors and their clients.


Read articles by Matthew Best Cert CII