The recent TCC decision in Brit Inns Ltd (in liquidation) v. BDW Trading Ltd (Costs) [2012] EWHC 2489 (TCC) is a useful summary of the costs principles that will be applied where Claimants pursue inflated claims – either deliberately or through lack of sufficient care. The relevant principles will be:

  1. in a commercial case, a successful party would usually be the one that recovered money from the other;
  2. the only certain way for a Defendant to shift its potential costs liability was to make a Part 36 offer which it then bettered at trial;
  3. the pursuit of exaggerated claims might deprive the Claimant of some or all of its costs, but it was usually only where the exaggeration was deliberate that the Claimant would be ordered to pay the Defendant's costs;
  4. in general terms, for costs to be shifted as a result of conduct, so that the Claimant who recovered something at trial still has to pay the Defendant's costs, there needed to be more or less total failure on the issues that went to trial, or a failure to accept a Part 44 offer that would have put the Claimant in a better position than going on.