Cases - Sisu Capital Fund Ltd v Tucker & others

Record details

Sisu Capital Fund Ltd v Tucker & others
BPIR 154
Construction claim - loss and expense claim - legal research - costs - employees - party's employees - Re Nossen's Letter Patent

In this case, a number of office-holders engaged in the administration of a company had spent a considerable period of time addressing an application to have them removed from their position. Again, the question before the Court was whether a litigant must bear the costs of digging out his own factual material through his own employees. The office-holders argued that:

  • The London Scottish Benefit Society case has a wide application because a solicitor litigant in person recovers for his time. Therefore other professional litigants in person should recover for their time, regardless of whether they are using their professional skills.
  • If a professional can charge for his own time, so too should he be able to charge for the time of his staff.
  • AMEC shows that the CPR mark a shift in the approach of the courts.

Having reviewed the relevant case law, Warren J rejected the office-holders' submissions, finding that The London Scottish Benefit Society case was limited in scope to litigants in person who are also solicitors. By extension, a litigant in person who is a professional could only recover for the costs of his services if they were used to address issues which would normally require expert attention. The position of an office-holder was no different: the fact that an office-holder may have to bring or defend litigation as part of his duties did not mean that it was part of his profession to do so. It was the nature of the work done and the nature of the workers' expertise which were crucial. The decision in AMEC was also carefully dismantled, with Warren J stating that Re Nossen's Letter Patent cannot just be dismissed as having no bearing on the CPR costs code.

HHJ Thornton QC said that as a matter of construction, the time charges fell within the definition of 'costs', but gave no reason for their doing so and did not consider the earlier, relevant case law.

The AMEC decision, if applied, would extend the range of recoverable costs and make litigation more expensive.