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Fox Gregory Ltd v Hamptons Group Ltd

Where a claimant had issued proceedings for interim relief and discontinued the proceedings when the defendant gave the undertakings sought, the judge had erred in principle to award costs in favour of the defendant as, in the circumstances, it had been reasonable to issue proceedings.

13 October 2006

The appellant estate agents (F) appealed against the decision to make an award of costs to the respondent (H). F had made investigations in relation to a former employee (S) who had left to work for H. It was discovered that S had removed confidential information prior to her departure. F had asked S and H to give undertakings for the delivery up of the property taken. H initially ignored the requests, but eventually responded that it was investigating the matter. F issued proceedings for an injunction. The action was dismissed by consent when H gave the undertakings requested. The judge ordered S to pay F’s costs and F to pay H’s costs as the application was premature, since there was no evidence against H and F had substantially failed in its action. F contended that the judge had erred in principle in saying that the application was premature as it had to issue proceedings due to the inadequate response by H to the letter before action.

HELD: Appeal allowed

The ju...

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