QOCS application in personal injury claims are having some court judgements of late.

Introduction QOCS

In personal injury claims lawyers will be aware of QOCS protection.  This mean that if a client loses a case when making a claim for injury and harm for instance clinical negligence or through an accident at work, if they lose the case they generally do not have to pay the winning defendant any legal costs.  Without this protection they will be ordered to pay their costs that can be substantial.

However, if there is a ‘mixed personal injury’ case, that is an injury with a pure financial loss, then that financial loss may not to be classed as a personal injury claim and therefore if that part of the case  is lost the client may be ordered to  pay those costs and lose their protection for that part.  They will still be protected for the injury part of the claim.

Navigating Recent Legal Shifts: QOCS Caps and Exceptions Unveiled in Credit Hire and Education Claims”

In recent legal developments, two significant cases shed light on the intricacies of Qualified One Way Costs Shifting (QOCS) provisions. These rulings, Amjad v UK Insurance Ltd [2023] and Siddiqui v University of Oxford [2018], bring clarity to the application and exceptions of QOCS rules, impacting credit hire and education claims.

**Amjad v UK Insurance Ltd [2023] – Credit Hire Case:**

In the Amjad case, Mr. Justice Ritchie’s judgment overturned the decision to lift the QOCS cap against a claimant whose credit hire charges were significantly reduced. The High Court held that the trial judge failed to consider a non-party costs order, a crucial step under CPR 44.16(2)(a) when claims benefit a third party. Ritchie J also clarified factors under gateway (b) for ‘mixed claims,’ offering guidance applicable to QOCS provisions.

**Practical Implications:**
Ritchie J’s guidance underscores the importance of non-party costs orders and factors to consider under CPR 44.16(2), shaping the landscape of credit hire litigation. This decision sets a precedent for the application of QOCS provisions, affecting both claimants and defendants in various cases. There are various factors the court will take into account to decide if the ‘financial element’ of a claim is can be judged to be a ‘mixed claim’ for the purposes of QOCS protection such as the analysis of the nature of the claim, heads of loss relative to the effort and costs incurred by bringing  the non-personal injury side of the claim amongst other factors.

**Siddiqui v University of Oxford [2018] – Education Claim:**

In Siddiqui’s case against Oxford University, the High Court’s decision highlighted the consequences of QOCS provisions in an education context. Siddiqui sought damages for alleged negligent teaching, claiming it hindered his career. The court ruled that, as his claim included elements of ‘pure financial loss’ beyond personal injury, QOCS protection did not fully apply. Siddiqui was ordered to pay 25% of the university’s costs.

**Implications for Education Claims:**
The Siddiqui case illuminates that QOCS rules may not entirely shield claimants when claims involve financial loss beyond personal injury. The need to differentiate between claim types becomes evident, and this case serves as a cautionary example for those pursuing education-related claims.

These cases collectively emphasize the nuanced application of QOCS provisions, providing valuable insights for legal practitioners, claimants, and defendants. The evolving guidance in credit hire and education claims showcases the dynamic nature of legal interpretations and the importance of considering specific CPR provisions in different contexts. As these rulings shape legal precedents, stakeholders must stay vigilant and adapt strategies accordingly in the ever-changing landscape of legal proceedings.

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