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Brian May's claim brings cost proportionality into light

View profile for Sarah Canning
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Brian May from Queen performing
Musician Brian May brought a claim against a neighbour's developer for nuisance arising from a basement development. The claim itself settled relatively early in the proceedings when May and his wife accepted £25,000 in compensation.

A cost claim followed by May for compensation against developer Wavell Group Limited. Costs Judge, Master Rowley, reviewed the costs incurred and determined that the costs sought of £208,236.54 including VAT should be reduced to £35,000 plus VAT. Master Rowley considered the costs in two stages:

  • First of all cutting the cost to £99,000 which incorporated specialist acoustic expert fees and not just legal fees. These costs and the reduction he considered to be reasonable.
  • He then went on to apply a second reduction  based upon proportionality. The Judge considered what costs should have been incurred proportionate to the dispute and arrived at £35,000 plus VAT, significantly less than the costs claimed.

The Courts have made it very clear that if a party to a dispute wishes to pursue a matter beyond the key issue in dispute, they cannot reasonably expect to recover their costs for doing so even if they are ultimately successful with their claim.

It continues to be important for all parties to a dispute to find solutions that are proportionate and relative to the sum claimed thereby taking a commercial view of the dispute overall. 

If you find yourself in a situation needing specialist advice on a matter that may result in you having a claim made against you or you having to make a claim against someone else - please do get in touch. My team and I would be pleased to discuss your matter with you. You can reach me by email or call our Litigation team on 01604 828282 (Northampton).

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