Qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS)

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS)
  • What is QOCS?
  • When does QOCS apply?
  • Effect of QOCS—CPR 44.14
  • Exceptions to QOCS where court permission is not required—CPR 44.15
  • No reasonable grounds for bringing the proceedings
  • Conduct of the claimant
  • Exceptions to QOCS where court permission is required—CPR 44.16
  • Claim is fundamentally dishonest
  • Proceedings include a claim for the benefit of another person
  • More...

Qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS)

What is QOCS?

Qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) was introduced on 1 April 2013 as part of the Jackson costs reforms following the removal of a claimant’s right to recover additional liabilities from the defendant, ie success fees and after the event (ATE) insurance premiums. The relevant CPR provisions are CPR 44.13 to CPR 44.17 and CPR PD 44, para 12.

The QOCS regime usually limits a losing claimant’s liability to pay costs.

QOCS does not seek to constrain the court from making costs orders but rather the use which defendants can make of costs orders in their favour.

Generally, defendants’ costs may be enforced up to the amount of any court order for damages and interest made in favour of the claimant. This is effectively a cap on the amount of the defendant’s costs which can be enforced. For example, if a claimant is ordered an award of £50,000 in damages and interest and also ordered to pay £65,000 of the defendant’s costs, the defendant will only be able to enforce that costs order up to £50,000.

However, orders for costs may be enforced against a claimant without limit where:

  1. the claim has been struck out as disclosing no cause of action, as an abuse of process or on account of obstructive conduct (the court order striking out the claim will make it clear

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