In Colour Quest Ltd & Ors (Claimants) v (1) Total Downstream UK Plc (2) Total UK Ltd (3) Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd (Defendants) : (1) Total Downstream UK Plc (2) Total UK Ltd (Part 20 Claimants) v Chevron Ltd (1st Part 20 Defendant/Third Party) & Total Milford Haven Refinery Ltd (Fourth Party) & Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd (2nd Part 20 Defendant)- Lawtel 23.4.09 the Commercial Court determined applications for indemnity costs and interest following its decision on preliminary issues in proceedings arising out of the Buncefield oil storage depot explosion.

The court had found that the first and second Defendants were vicariously liable for the negligence which led to the explosion.

It held that a denial of fault had been maintained by the first and second Defendants for some two years after service of the defence. That was unreasonable to a marked extent sufficient to justify the award of indemnity costs. It was appropriate that the Claimants should recover indemnity costs in relation to the issue of negligence up to the date on which responsibility for the escape was finally confirmed.

One Claimant was entitled to indemnity costs because it had done better than its Part 36 offer. The appropriate date for the offer to take effect was when the offer had been clarified. That Claimant was also entitled to interest on the costs after that date at a rate of three month LIBOR plus four per cent.