A further affirmation of the “high bar” for “exceptional circumstances”

Hammond v SIG plc & Subsidiary Companies [2019] EWHC B7 (Costs)

The claim started in the portal and was subsequently resolved under Part 36. The SCCO found that the Claimant was entitled to fixed costs only despite arguing for an ‘escape’ from fixed costs under CPR 45.29J (i.e. “exceptional circumstances”).

The case is notable because the SCCO cited only one authority in which exceptional circumstances have been made out: “The only finding of exceptional circumstances produced by either party, notwithstanding the very substantial number of cases that are taken through the Portal each year, was … Jackson v Barfoot Farms, an unreported decision … and which is helpful if only as a contrast to the case before me. That particular case proved (as the Judge found) to be very complicated and settled for some £350,000. I would respectfully agree … that that case was indeed exceptional, but none of those considerations apply here”.

This case affirms what we already know: that the test of exceptionality is indeed a high bar.

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