Murphy, and Murphy v Young and Co’s Brewery Plc, Sun Alliance and London Insurance Plc: CA 20 Nov 1996

When an unsuccessful party has had its legal costs funded under legal expenses insurance, should the insurer be held liable to pay the successful party’s costs? The insurer had not instigated the litigation, nor controlled it, and could not be accused of ‘wanton and officious intermeddling’. The insurance was general and did not relate to this particular litigation. A costs order would be inappropriate. ‘Funding alone will not justify an order against the funder under section 51. I do not consider that an order under section 51 will normally be appropriate where a disinterested relative has, out of natural affection, funded costs of a claim or a defence that is reasonably advanced.’


Phillips LJ


Times 08-Jan-1997, [1996] EWCA Civ 1000, [1997] 1 All ER 518, [1997] 1 WLR 1591, [1998] 1 Costs LR 94, [1997] CLC 469




Supreme Court Act 1981 51


England and Wales


CitedAiden Shipping Co Ltd v Interbulk Ltd (The ‘Vimeira’) HL 1986
Wide Application of Costs Against Third Party
A claim had been made against charterers by the ship owners, and in turn by the charterers against their sub-charterers. Notice of motion were issued after arbitration awards were not accepted. When heard, costs awards were made, which were now . .
CitedSymphony Group Plc v Hodgson CA 4-May-1993
A section 51 non-party costs application should not be used as a substitute for the pursuit of a related cause of action against the non-party in ordinary proceedings. Nine rules were set out for allowing a costs order against someone who is not a . .
CitedGiles v Thompson, Devlin v Baslington (Conjoined Appeals) HL 1-Jun-1993
Car hire companies who pursued actions in motorists’ names to recover the costs of hiring a replacement vehicle after an accident, from negligent drivers, were not acting in a champertous and unlawful manner. Lord Mustill said: ‘there exists in . .

Cited by:

CitedAbraham and Another v Thompson and Others ChD 12-May-1997
The court may issue a stay of proceedings pending disclosure of the source of funding of an action, without there needing to be any suggestion of champerty or other illegality. The first plaintiff was ordered to disclose to the 5th and 6th . .
CitedDymocks Franchise Systems (NSW) Pty Ltd v Todd and others (No. 2) PC 21-Jul-2004
PC (New Zealand) Costs were sought against a non-party, following an earlier determination by the Board.
Held: Jurisdiction to make such an order was not complete. Where the order sought was against a . .
CitedLingfield Properties (Darlington) Ltd v Padgett Lavender Associates QBD 18-Nov-2008
Application for non-party costs order against litigation funder. The third party denied that he was a person against whom an order could be made, and denied his formal involvement in the companies funding the litigation.
Held: Such an order . .
CitedTravelers Insurance Company Ltd v XYZ SC 30-Oct-2019
Challenge to the making of a non-party costs order under section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 against the product liability insurer of one of the defendants in litigation being managed under a Group Litigation Order (‘GLO’). Many of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Costs, Insurance

Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.140867