Non-party costs order against UKIP

Non-party costs order against UKIP

What is the court to make of a situation in which a political party involves itself as a non-party in a defamation claim that was being brought against one of its Parliamentary candidates? Would mere funding of the defence give rise to a liability for costs? Would such a liability arise if the party took a ‘deliberate, informed and calculated’ decision to avoid the claim settling until after a forthcoming General Election? These were the questions before Warby J in the recent judgment of Barron MP and others v Collins MEP and another [2018] EWHC 253 (QB).

Warby J in making a non-party costs order a key element was his finding that UKIP took a ‘deliberate, informed and calculated’ decision to ensure that the case was not settled before the General Election. That decision ‘very probably’ prevented a settlement from taking place at that time.  Warby J’s decision has added to the line of cases that have followed Turvill v Bird [2016] EWCA Civ 703 and Deutsche Bank AG v Sebastian Holdings Inc [2016] EWCA Civ 23, those being decisions that confirm that the principles in Symphony Group Plc v Hodgson [1994] QB 179 (CA) and related cases are not immutable; Warby J has emphasised that the critical factor in deciding whether a non-party costs order should be made is the nature and degree of the non-party’s connection with the proceedings.

LexisPSL Dispute Resolution subscribers enjoy access to the full news analysis Non-party costs order against a political party who prevented the timely settlement of a defamation claim for political reasons (Barron v Collins) written by Dr Mark Friston, Barrister, Hailsham Chambers.

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