Disapplication of QOCS for failure to pay trial fee

Bruce and Bruce-Daly v Thomas Cook Tour Operations (Unreported)

QOCS (Qualified One-way Costs Shifting) provides that a bona fide, losing claimant will not have to bear a defendant’s costs unless the defendant can satisfy one of the exceptions in the CPR.

In this case, the Claimants, relying on the Package Travel Regulations 1992, brought proceedings for breach of contract. In the course of the claim the Claimants’ solicitors ceased acting and, from that point onwards, the Claimants failed to comply with directions which resulted in the claim being struck out due to the Claimants’ failure to pay the trial fee. 

On the issue of costs, the Defendant submitted that QOCS should be disapplied on the basis that the Claimants’ conduct generally, including non-payment of the trial fee, had obstructed the just disposal of proceedings. The Judge considered that the Claimants’ conduct, in failing to comply with court orders coupled with the failure to pay the trial fee, was sufficient for the exception at CPR 44.15 to apply and the Judge disapplied QOCS and awarded the Defendant its full costs.

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