Interim costs award to benefit future claimants
Decision sends 'clear message' that interim payments will be interpreted in the claimant's favour
The first written judgment following the award of an interim payment has been granted with future claimants and the legal industry set to benefit.
The award of £7,780 by district judge John Baldwin at Liverpool County Court's in the case of Travers v Poole Hospital NHS Foundation is the first of its kind since the new interim payment ruling was introduced in April 2013.
Fletchers Solicitors had earlier settled a clinical negligence claim for damages for £1,500 on behalf of NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) in 2015.
In 2015, after Travers' case for medical negligence was settled, it was passed to Liverpool County Court to determine costs.
To help secure an early payment, Fletchers Solicitors brought the new interim payment ruling to the attention of the court, urging it to take the rule change into account when considering their claimant's request.
Future claimants are likely to use the ruling to back their request for interim payments, says the firm, while defendants who wish to challenge a request will now be required to present valid reasoning as to its unreasonableness - shifting the burden from the claimant to the defendant.
Benjamin Moody, advocacy manager for Fletchers Solicitors' in-house costs company, Ultimate Costs, hailed the result. 'Interim payments are extremely valuable when it comes to bringing a case to final settlement. The process can often take a significant time to conclude and interim payments serve to speed up the process.
'For too long, defendants have strenuously objected to providing interim payments, putting off that dreaded day when costs must be paid. The court has now sent a very clear message that the rule change is to be interpreted in the claimant's favour.