Case Alert - [2018] EWHC 428 (Ch)

Judge decides rate of interest on a judgment debt which is in a foreign currency

The rate of interest on a judgment debt is usually 8% but section 44A of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 provides that the court can order a different rate in relation to a judgment in a foreign currency. In this case, the judgment was expressed in US dollars but the judge refused to order US Prime Rate because "I have no reason to think that any borrowing which might be needed on the part of the [claimant] would involve it borrowing in the US at the US Prime Rate. Further, I have no evidence that the [claimant] needs to borrow anywhere in the world". Instead the judge decided to award the same rate of interest as he had ordered for the discretionary rate of interest (under section 35A of the Senior Courts Act 1981), ie 3% above Bank of England base rate: "Having heard full argument as to what would be fair compensation for the [claimant] for the purposes of section 35A of the 1981 Act, I do not see any reason to arrive at a different answer when considering the identical question for the purposes of section 44A of the 1970 Act".