The standard position is that the 8% interest rate on judgment debts starts to run from the date a judgment is given. However, the court has a discretion to order a different date from when this interest will run (CPR r40.8). So, for example, it was held in Involnert Management v Aprilgrange (see Weekly Update 37/15) that it is not just to make an order under which interest begins to run before the paying party could reasonably be expected to pay the debt. It was also held in that case that there is no requirement that the case have unusual features in order to justify a later start date.

In this case, it was held that the Master had not erred in ordering a later starting date (of some 3 months) which corresponded to the date on which the paying party had learnt what the other party was claiming in respect of costs.

The payee had referred to the Court of Appeal decision of Bim Kemi v Blackburn Chemicals[2003], in which it was held that interest should run from the date of the original costs order (where an appeal had been handed down later on). That case was distinguished here on the following basis: "Whereas in Bim Kemi the receiving party was a commercial enterprise which had borrowed externally to fund the litigation, the claimant in this case was a solicitor conducting the litigation on his own, and not borrowing or spending money to do so. In those circumstances, the award of interest at a commercial rate is a reasonable exercise of discretion, so far as the period before delivery of the bills is concerned".