Landmark Appeal Success on Recovery of Costs-ANEXO GROUP PLC

Landmark Appeal Success on Recovery of Costs-ANEXO GROUP PLC

Landmark Appeal Success on Recovery of Costs of Interpreters

Landmark Appeal Success on Recovery of Costs of Interpreters

Anexo Group plc (AIM: ANX), the specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider, is pleased to announce that its legal services subsidiary, Bond Turner, has achieved a ground-breaking ruling in the Court of Appeal regarding the ability to claim the cost of an interpreter as a disbursement in a case wherein fixed costs apply.

Background

Bond Turner's client (the Claimant) was involved in a road traffic accident in May 2018. He is a Brazilian national with an inability to give evidence in English. His witness statement was prepared in Portuguese and, although this was subsequently translated into English, he required the services of an independent interpreter to provide translation services before and during the trial. The translation of such evidence is a mandatory requirement of the Civil Procedure Rules. A settlement between the parties was agreed and Bond Turner's recoverable fees were fixed and uncontroversial. However, the claim for the interpreter's fees was resisted by the Motor Insurers' Bureau ('MIB') (a private company which operates to provide victims of accidents caused by uninsured and untraced drivers with compensation following road traffic accidents).

Without the Claimant having an independent interpreter present at the trial, the Claimant would have been precluded from pursuing his claim. Notwithstanding this, the MIB still argued before the District Judge at first instance that the fee for an interpreter should not be awarded as the rules in respect to fixed costs did not permit recovery of the fee.  Thereafter permission to appeal was afforded and, given the importance of the point generally, the matter was transferred to the Court of Appeal.

Following a hearing on 18 May 2023 judgment was reserved so the Court could consider the matter. Judgment has now been handed down and the Court found unanimously that the fee was recoverable.

The Court of Appeal referred to a report produced by the Civil Justice Council addressing vulnerability within civil proceedings. It was asserted that a Claimant who was unable to fully speak or understand the language of legal proceedings was vulnerable because "his ability to participate in proceedings, or to give his best evidence, may be impaired".

This judgment means that Bond Turner and other Solicitors who act for parties who are vulnerable, by virtue of language, will be able to recover the costs of an interpreter from the party at fault for causing them loss and damage.

Alan Sellers, Executive Chairman of Anexo, said: "We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has recognised the importance of ensuring that our clients have the best possible opportunity to pursue their claims fully and clearly, and in doing so have upheld the ancient common law principle that one should take your victim as you find them. We specialise in acting for vulnerable clients and we are dismayed that the defendants would seek to penalise our clients both procedurally and financially, when the client has been placed in an invidious position through no fault of their own.

"We continue to believe that the rights of impecunious clients who are deprived of the use of a vehicle through no fault of their own, and who do not have the ability to obtain a replacement vehicle through their own resources, must be respected by all parties. We are proud of the support we provide in these cases and welcome this confirmation of the social value of what we do."

Background

Bond Turner's client (the Claimant) was involved in a road traffic accident in May 2018. He is a Brazilian national with an inability to give evidence in English. His witness statement was prepared in Portuguese and, although this was subsequently translated into English, he required the services of an independent interpreter to provide translation services before and during the trial. The translation of such evidence is a mandatory requirement of the Civil Procedure Rules. A settlement between the parties was agreed and Bond Turner's recoverable fees were fixed and uncontroversial. However, the claim for the interpreter's fees was resisted by the Motor Insurers' Bureau ('MIB') (a private company which operates to provide victims of accidents caused by uninsured and untraced drivers with compensation following road traffic accidents).

Without the Claimant having an independent interpreter present at the trial, the Claimant would have been precluded from pursuing his claim. Notwithstanding this, the MIB still argued before the District Judge at first instance that the fee for an interpreter should not be awarded as the rules in respect to fixed costs did not permit recovery of the fee.  Thereafter permission to appeal was afforded and, given the importance of the point generally, the matter was transferred to the Court of Appeal.

Following a hearing on 18 May 2023 judgment was reserved so the Court could consider the matter. Judgment has now been handed down and the Court found unanimously that the fee was recoverable.

The Court of Appeal referred to a report produced by the Civil Justice Council addressing vulnerability within civil proceedings. It was asserted that a Claimant who was unable to fully speak or understand the language of legal proceedings was vulnerable because "his ability to participate in proceedings, or to give his best evidence, may be impaired".

This judgment means that Bond Turner and other Solicitors who act for parties who are vulnerable, by virtue of language, will be able to recover the costs of an interpreter from the party at fault for causing them loss and damage.

Alan Sellers, Executive Chairman of Anexo, said: 

"We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has recognised the importance of ensuring that our clients have the best possible opportunity to pursue their claims fully and clearly, and in doing so have upheld the ancient common law principle that one should take your victim as you find them. We specialise in acting for vulnerable clients and we are dismayed that the defendants would seek to penalise our clients both procedurally and financially, when the client has been placed in an invidious position through no fault of their own.

"We continue to believe that the rights of impecunious clients who are deprived of the use of a vehicle through no fault of their own, and who do not have the ability to obtain a replacement vehicle through their own resources, must be respected by all parties. We are proud of the support we provide in these cases and welcome this confirmation of the social value of what we do."

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