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Supreme Court Awards Indemnity Costs


The Supreme Court has ordered Associated Newspapers Ltd, publishers of the Daily Mail, to pay costs on the indemnity basis. James Laughland, led by William McCormick QC of Ely Place Chambers, acted for the Claimant in one of the three appeals heard by the Supreme Court concerning whether additional liabilities are recoverable in publication proceedings.

Despite the newspaper’s appeal being dismissed they had argued they should only pay 50% of the Respondent’s costs as they had “got the better of the point” as to whether there was a rule in domestic law prohibiting the recovery of such additional liabilities. The Respondents successfully defeated that argument, pointing to the fact the outcome of the appeal had not determined either the existence or scope of “the Rule”. Moreover, as the Respondent, Mr Miller, had made a Part 36 offer shortly after the hearing at first instance, an offer that constituted a substantial discount on the sums being claimed, the Supreme Court has ordered the newspaper to pay his costs in the indemnity basis from March 2016. The Civil Procedure Rules do not apply in the Supreme Court so the entitlement to indemnity costs arising under Part 36 was not present. The Respondent’s Counsel successfully argued that such should nonetheless be awarded to recognise the substantial concession Mr Miller had been prepared to make to compromise this appeal and the fact that had the case gone to the Court of Appeal, and not on a leap-frog to the Supreme Court, he would have been entitled to the additional Part 36 benefits.

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