Police lose 33% of costs for failing to mediate

The High Court has penalised the Metropolitan Police by reducing their costs by a third in a case where they won on every substantive issue because of its “failure fully and adequately to engage in the ADR process”.

Turner J made the ruling in Laporte & Anor v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2015] EWHC 371 (QB). The defendant had won on all the substantive issues (here’s the report of the case) but the claimant argued there should be no order for costs because the defendant had refused to engage in ADR. The court reviewed the Halsey list of reasons which might be considered grounds for reasonably refusing to mediate and dismissed them, concluding

Taking into account all of the factors listed in Halsey and all other relevant matters to which I have referred in this judgment I am satisfied that the defendant’s failure fully and adequately to engage in the ADR process should be reflected in the costs order I make…

I do not consider that the scale of the defendant’s shortcomings in the context of his failure to engage with ADR was such as to justify disentitling him from claiming any of his costs. He did ultimately win on every substantive issue and, although ADR made settlement a sufficiently likely possibility, it would have been by no means certain. Exercising the broad discretion afforded to me by the rules, I award the defendant two thirds of his costs against the claimants to be assessed on the standard basis.

You can download our updated digest of mediation costs penalty cases which summarises the recent line of developing caselaw on this important area.

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