Weekly Update 12/16 reported the finding in this case that the defendant, the Motor Insurers' Bureau, was not liable to compensate the claimant, a driver who had been injured in a road traffic accident in France by an unidentified driver. Of issue in this decision was whether the claimant was entitled to the protection of Qualified One-way Costs Shifting (QOCS). This regime was introduced on 1 April 2013, and results in defendants generally being ordered to pay the costs of winning claimants but, subject to certain exceptions, they will not recover their own costs if they successfully defend the claim.
CPR r44.13 states that QOCS applies "to proceedings which include a claim for damages…for personal injuries". Stewart J was therefore required to decide whether the claim here fell within that definition.
He concluded that it did not. The claimant's claim against the MIB was not one for damages for personal injuries. Although the glossary to the CPR merely defines damages as "a sum of money awarded by the Court as compensation to the Claimant", the judge noted that he was not bound by this definition and instead approved textbook commentary to the effect that it is an essential feature of damages that there is a "wrong". In this case, there was no breach of duty by MIB, or any other wrong alleged against them, and so a claim based on the 2003 Regulations (which were brought in by the UK to comply with the fourth Motor Directive requirements) was not a claim within the meaning of CPR r44.13.