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Letting the compensation culture out of jail

Despite clarifying the law on the imposition on non-party costs orders, Flatman v Germany missed a chance to quell compensatory culture says Kevin Shannon

24 April 2013

In Flatman v Germany [2013] EWCA Civ 278 the Court of Appeal was given an opportunity to lock the door on the compensation culture and ambulance-chasing lawyers forever. Unfortunately, they instead allowed them to escape and live on for another day.

Flatman dealt with two conjoined cases which raised questions of when it would be appropriate to make a non-party costs order against solicitors who had funded unsuccessful litigation on behalf of impecunious claimants. At the time the law was in a confused state. On one hand was HHJ Davies' decision in Tinseltime [2012] EWHC 2628 which was strongly against imposing costs order on solicitors in these cases. On the other hand there was the Eady J's decision in the High Court in Flatman and two Court of Appeal judgments (Arkin v Borchard [2005] EWCA Civ 655 and Myatt v National Coal Board [2007] EWCA Civ 307) which were in favour of non-party orders.

Missed opportunity

Flatman has now clarified the law but b...

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