In HHJ Lopez’s recently published judgment in Raymond Prince v. Egbert H Taylor & Company Limited (2016), he considered whether a Claimant should be estopped from asserting that Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting rules (QOCS) applied to his claim because his solicitors had wrongly represented to the Defendants that a pre-commencement funding arrangement was in place.  

The Claimant’s solicitors had, erroneously, informed the Defendants, in a letter dated 30 October 2012, that the Claimant had entered in to a CFA with them. Accordingly, the Defendants deduced that the Claimant did not have the benefit of any of the QOCS protections, which are only available to Claimants with CFA agreements dated after 1 April 2013.

The Claimant’s claim was struck out for procedural failings, a decision that was unsuccessfully appealed. When the Court was asked to determine costs, it was asserted by the Claimant that he had entered into a CFA after 1 April 2013 and therefore QOCS applied. In cases where QOCS apply, Defendants can only enforce costs orders against Claimants in accordance with CPR 44.15 and 44.16.  

HHJ Lopez accepted the Defendant’s argument that the Claimant was estopped from asserting QOCS applied because the Claimant had represented there was a pre-commencement funding arrangement in place and the Defendant had relied upon that representation. The Defendant could therefore obtain and enforce a costs order against the Claimant.