I won’t name the Court, but it has a football team that was in the Premier League during the 90’s and the Championship in the 2000’s.
Claimant had a favourable expert report that had not been disclosed but the contents paraphrased to the 2 Defendants. First Defendant was main contractor and Second Defendant was their sub-contractor.
First Defendant was a party to the contract and had both advised on design and undertook some works. The Second Defendant purely carried out some works which fell short of a reasonable contractor (you’ve worked out by now my client is the Claimant).
Both Defendant solicitors tried to join forces but one clearly led the other. They wanted to get in their own expert and have my client’s expert report “kicked out” with costs.
We wanted to get mediation and a stay to try and spell out just how much their clients were in the hole.
Judge decided that 90 minutes was not long enough to go over cost budgets and directions.
Directions were all in line with ours, save for we agreed to disclose our client’s favourable report with both Defendants allowed to put questions to the expert.
The expert batted away the questions put to him.
Despite repeated open and w/p letters inviting both Defendants to ADR, this was not taken up.
The Judge was furious about both Defendants refusing ADR. They had to file witness statements within 14 days of the relisted hearing explaining why they were so intransigent.
Costs were parked AGAIN, and not discussed, due to the hearing length. By this stage we took the hint that the Judge didn’t want to discuss costs at all and the case should settle.
Directions were set down with very tight timeframes towards trial.
The First Defendant after the hearing started to realise the costs were reaching damages if it reached trial. They are likely to put forward an opening offer.
If it reaches Pre-Trial review, it will be interesting to see what the Judge has to say about there having been no assessment of costs budgets at the previous 2 hearings.
Over and out.