- Defendants’ failure to disclose document lets discontinuing claimant avoid costs order (Hewson v Wells)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: The court ordered that the costs of the discontinued claims should be costs in the case, a departure from the general rule. The claimant had advanced various claims against the intestacy beneficiaries of the estate of her long-term partner. In pre-action correspondence, her solicitors invited the defendants to produce documents relevant to the claims, including a deed which related to ownership of a property. The defendants did not produce the deed until after proceedings were issued. The document produced was of poor quality and appeared to be incomplete. The defendants failed to allow the claimant to inspect the original deed, and repeatedly produced illegible copies. When a legible copy was eventually produced, the claimant discontinued all but one claim. The court concluded that the production of the deed was a change in circumstance caused by the defendants’ poor conduct. Written by Alex Bagnall, technical manager, at Total Legal Solutions.
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