Hobson and others v Ashton Morton Slack Solicitors and others: QBD 18 May 2006

The applicants had instructed the various defendant firms of solicitors to act for them in recovering damages arising from their former emploment with British Coal. The defendants had charged them administrative fees, which under the scheme they said should not have been charged. A group litigation order was sought.
Held: The court severely criticised the claimants: ‘this application is, in my judgment, misconceived and constitutes a gross abuse of the system which has been devised for the pursuit of group litigation where there is a valid group litigation issue; as to which see later. Not only was the application itself misconceived, but also it has been pursued in a manner which is both heavy handed and inept.’
The claimants had not set out how the defendant solicitors would be liable, the claims would have different forms against different solicitors, and were fact sensitive as against each firm. The enforceability of the agreements had not been explored, nor any alternative form of dispute resolution, any proper exploration of other forms of funding by legal aid or insurance. Costs estimates indicated that the claimants had incurred costs of over one hundred thousand pounds pursuing claims against one firm amounting to one thousand pounds. The application failed.


Sir Michael Turner


[2006] EWHC 1134 (QB)




England and Wales

Legal Professions, Costs

Updated: 21 May 2022; Ref: scu.242211