Best v Wellcome Foundation Ltd (No. 2)

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr Justice Francis D Murphy
Judgment Date03 February 1995
Neutral Citation1995 WJSC-HC 228
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number493/1993,[1993 No. 493]
Date03 February 1995

1995 WJSC-HC 228

THE HIGH COURT

493/1993
BEST v. WELLCOME FOUNDATION LTD

BETWEEN

KENNETH JAMES BEST & ANOR
PLAINTIFF

AND

WELLCOME FOUNDATION LIMITED
DEFENDANTS

Citations:

DEBTORS (IRL) ACT 1840 S26

DEBTORS (IRL) ACT 1840 S27

RSC O.42 r15

COOKE V WALSH 1989 ILRM 322

MCGARRY, AG V SLIGO CO COUNCIL 1989 ILRM 785

HICKEY V NORWICH UNION FIRE INSURANCE LTD EX-TEMP MURPHY 23.10.87

K V K 1977 1 AER 576

LAMBERT V LAMBERT 1987 ILRM 390

COURTS ACT 1981

O'SULLIVAN V DWYER (NO 2) 1973 IR 81

DEBTORS (IRL) ACT 1840 S25

Synopsis:

PRACTICE

Costs

Interest - Defendant - Payment - Obligation - High Court - Judgment for defendant - Appeal allowed - Appellate court gave judgment for plaintiff with costs in High Court and of appeal when taxed and ascertained - Whether High Court costs to carry interest from date of High Court judgment - Debtors (Ireland) Act, 1840, s. 27 - (1993/493 - Murphy J. - 3/2/95) - [1995] 2 I.R. 393

|Best v. Wellcome Foundation Ltd.|

WORDS AND PHRASES

"When taxed and ascertained"

Action - Costs - Award - Plaintiff - Interest - Entitlement - Judgment for defendant in High Court - Plaintiff" appeal allowed - Plaintiff awarded his costs in both courts - Interest payable by defendant on plaintiff's High Court costs from date of High Court judgment - (1993/493 - Murphy J. - 3/2/95) [1995] 2 I.R. 393

|Best v. Wellcome Foundation Ltd.|

1

Judgment of Mr Justice Francis D Murphy delivered the 3rd day of February 1995.

2

This is a claim by the Plaintiff for interest on the costs awarded to him in proceedings (Record No. 1978 No. 2641P) in which he was Plaintiff and Wellcome Foundation Limited was one of a number of Defendants.

3

In the earlier proceedings, the Plaintiff claimed damages for very serious injuries which he received as a result of the alleged wrongdoing of the Wellcome Foundation Limited. The Plaintiff's claim was dismissed by Order of the High Court made on the 11th day of January, 1991. By that Order it was provided that the Defendants should recover from the Plaintiff the costs of the proceedings when taxed. By Order of the Supreme Court made on the 3rd day of June, 1992, the judgment and Order of the High Court were set aside to the extent that it dismissed the Plaintiff's claim against the Wellcome Foundation Limited. The Order of the Supreme Court further directed that the Plaintiff should recover against the Defendants such sum for damages as would be assessed by the High Court. In relation to costs, the Order of the Supreme Court provided as follows:-

"The Plaintiff do recover against the first named Defendant (the Wellcome Foundation Limited) his costs of the action in the High Court and of the said Appeal when taxed and ascertained (the Plaintiff's costs to include all reserved costs and the costs of his own discovery) together with a sum by way of recoupment equal to the amount which the Plaintiff is liable to pay hereunder and does pay by way of costs to the second and third named Defendants".

4

The proceedings by the Plaintiff with regard to the ascertainment of the damages to which he was entitled, and the costs awarded to him in those proceedings, are not relevant to the present matter.

5

The bill drawn by Mr. Paul Behan, the Legal Cost Accountant retained by the Plaintiff's Solicitors, in relation to the High Court proceedings amounted to £1,536,851.61 and the bill in relation to the appeal to the Supreme Court amounted to £345,280.73. Those bills were submitted to the Solicitors on behalf of the Defendants on the 25th day of September, 1992. Discussions took place between the cost drawers retained on behalf of the Plaintiff and Defendants. As a result of these discussions, the net amount of the High Court costs of the Plaintiff were agreed at £958,173.32 and the Supreme Court costs in the sum of £318,216.42. Those two sums of money were paid on the 22nd day of January, 1993.

6

It was at all times the contention of the Plaintiff that the sums claimed or agreed in respect of costs carried interest under the provisions of the Courts Act, 1981and that contention was disputed by the Defendants. The interest on the costs awarded in respect of the High Court proceedings is computed from the date of the High Court Order, that is to say, the 11th of January, 1991 to the date of payment, the 22nd of January, 1993 at a rate of 8% per annum, a total of 742 days at £210.01 per day, a total of £155,827.42. The interest on the costs awarded by the Supreme Court in respect of the Supreme Court Appeal is computed from the 3rd of June, 1992 to the 22nd of January, 1993, a total of 234 days at 8% per annum or £69.75 per day giving a total of £16,321.50. The total amount claimed for interest is, therefore, a sum of £172,148.92.

7

Whilst arguments were made by Counsel on behalf of the Plaintiff to the effect that the payment of interest on the costs as computed aforesaid was both just and equitable - indeed that the interest so calculated was an inadequate recompense to the Plaintiff and his advisers - an Affidavit sworn by Mr. Ernest J. Cantillon, the Solicitor on behalf of the Plaintiff, makes it clear that the basis of the Plaintiff's claim is that interest was payable on the costs awarded pursuant to the Debtors (Ireland) Act, 1840, Sections 26 and 27 and Order 42 Rule 15 of the Rules of the Superior Courts.

8

The following issues were debated before me, namely:-

9

(1) Does an Order for costs made by the High Court or the Supreme Court carry interest?

10

(2) Is the right, if any, to interest subject to or conditional upon the party claiming such interest establishing a liability therefor to a third party?

11

(3) Where costs are awarded "subject to taxation", is the liability to pay interest postponed until, and conditional upon, such taxation taking place?

12

(4) If the Plaintiff is entitled to interest on costs pursuant to the Order made by the Supreme Court, can interest be claimed on the costs awarded in respect of the High Court proceedings as from the date of the High Court Order even though that Order did not itself award costs to the Plaintiff?

13

It might have been thought that these issues could not arise having regard to the fact that the question of the interest payable on costs awarded in the Superior...

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