Riley v Pickersgill and Le Cornu (Practising as Pickersgill)

CourtRoyal Court
JudgeMaster Wheeler
Judgment Date25 February 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] J.Unrep 45
Date25 February 2002
Master Wheeler

M.J. Thompson for the plaintiff;

A.D. Robinson for the defendants.

Cases cited:

(1) Callery v. Gray, [2001] 4 All E.R. 1, considered.

(2) Drake (née Neville) v. Gouveia, 2000 JLR 411, considered.

(3) Eves v. Hambros Bank (Jersey) Ltd., 2000 JLR 221, followed.

(4) Official Solicitor v. Clore, 1984 J.J. 81, applied.

(5) Watkins v. Egglishaw, 2002 JLR 1, applied.

Legislation construed:

Civil Proceedings (Jersey) Law 1956, art. 1: The relevant terms of this article are set out at para. 6.

art. 2(1): The relevant terms of this paragraph are set out at para. 6.

Access to Justice Act 1999, s.29: The relevant terms of this section are set out at para. 13.

Civil Procedure—costs—"costs of the action"—expression narrower in meaning than "costs of and incidental to all proceedings" in Civil Proceedings (Jersey) Law 1956, art. 2(1)—"after-the-event" insurance premium not part of "costs of the action"—does not satisfy "necessity" test required for exercise of court's inherent jurisdiction to award costs

The plaintiff sought to recover, as part of the costs awarded to him by the court, the premium of an "after-the-event" insurance policy.

The Royal Court found in the plaintiff's favour in an action against the defendant firm for damages, which alleged that it had acted negligently in preparing a contract on his behalf. The court ordered the defendants to pay damages and interest to the plaintiff, and "the costs of the action on the standard basis." The proceedings are reported at 2001 JLR 471. The plaintiff had paid a premium of £23,330 for an "after-the-event" insurance policy, to provide cover against the costs which he would have to pay if his claim were unsuccessful.

The plaintiff submitted that he could recover the insurance premium he had paid as (a) it was part of the "costs of the action" and was therefore recoverable; (b) if it was not, it was a cost "incidental to" the proceedings within art. 2(1) of the Civil Proceedings (Jersey) Law 1956; and (c) if it was not recoverable on either of these grounds, the court had an inherent jurisdiction to order that it was recoverable, in order that justice be done between the parties.

The defendant submitted in reply that (a) the insurance premium was not part of the "costs of the action" as that expression was limited to the costs of work done or disbursements incurred in furtherance of the action; (b) the express words of the order made by the Royal Court did not include costs "incidental to" the proceedings; (c) if it did, "after-the-event" insurance premiums were not costs "incidental to" the proceedings; and (d) the court had no inherent jurisdiction to order that the cost of the insurance premium was recoverable as the test of necessity was not satisfied, i.e. the action proposed by the plaintiff was not necessary to allow the court to act as a court of law.

Held, dismissing the application:

(1) The order of the Royal Court that the defendant pay "the costs ofthe action" was narrower in meaning than the power, conferred by art. 2(1) of the 1956 Law, to determine by whom and to what extent "the costs of and incidental to all proceedings" were paid. It was therefore only appropriate to consider whether an "after-the-event" insurance premium was part of the "costs of the action" ( para. 16).

(2) It was not part of the "costs of the action" as it was not sustained as a result of work done or disbursements incurred in the furtherance of the action. Although it would be recoverable in England as a result of recent changes in civil procedure there, those changes had no application to Jersey and it would be wrong in principle and beyond the power of the court to import a single element of the English system ( para. 11; para. 16).

(3) Furthermore, although it was not necessary to decide the matter, an "after-the-event" insurance premium could not be regarded as a cost "incidental to" the proceedings. Moreover, the recovery of the premium did not satisfy the "necessity" test required for the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction of the court ( para. 16).

1 MASTER WHEELER: In June 1998, the plaintiff brought proceedings against the defendants by way of Order of Justice. He claimed damages for breach of contract and/or professional negligence from the defendants, the losses arising from a guarantee which he had given in respect of a lease of premises in Peter Street, St. Helier. The plaintiff's obligations under the guarantee had been called and he was...

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1 cases
  • Cristiana Crociani v Paul Foortse
    • Jersey
    • Royal Court
    • 27 October 2016
    ...and Eighth Defendants not appearing. Advocate N. M. Santos-Costa as an Officer of the Court. Authorities Riley v Pickersgill & Le Cornu [2002] JLR 196 . Civil proceedings (Jersey) Law 1956. Trust — reasons for permitting plaintiffs to instruct Opus 2 to provide services for trial. CONTENTS ......

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