No fixed costs where claim taken out of RTA Protocol and allocated to multi-track

The issue in this case was whether the fixed costs regime continues to apply to a case which no longer continues under the RTA Protocol, but is allocated to the multi-track after being issued under Part 7. A claim might leave the RTA Protocol for various reasons, such as where liability is not admitted. A claim might then be allocated to the multi-track, rather than the fast track, because, for example, it is re-valued to be worth more than £25,000, or the defendants allege that the claim has been dishonestly fabricated.

The Court of Appeal has now held that, although there is nothing in Part 45 which expressly limits the fixed costs regime applicable to cases started, but no longer continuing, under the relevant Protocol to fast track cases, the fixed costs regime "is automatically dis-applied in any case allocated to the multi-track, without the requirement for the claimant to have recourse to Part 45.29J, by demonstrating exceptional circumstances".

The Court of Appeal concluded that there has been a drafting mistake in Part 45, which the court has power to put right by way of interpretation, even though that required the addition of words, rather than giving the words actually used a different meaning from their natural and ordinary meaning.