Libel winner must pay shortfall

civil litigation

One of the first cases to be dealt with under the Defamation Proceedings Costs Management Scheme, under which costs budgets are prepared in advance and adhered to, has ended with the successful claimant facing costs of up to £300,000.

The matter was brought by Sylvia Henry, a social worker who had been the subject of a number of newspaper articles because of her involvement in the ‘Baby P’ case.  Senior Costs Judge Hurst held that Ms. Henry could not recover her full costs against the Sun as her solicitors had not provided the required notification that they were exceeding their budget.

Under the Scheme, the parties must liaise with each other monthly to check the budget is not being exceeded. If it is, then they must apply to the court for a costs management conference.  The judge found no “good reason” to wdepart from the budget but said that he would grant permission to appeal.