The case involved a straightforward claim for damages against a riding school following an accident involving one of its horses. The riding school adopted a ‘DIY’ approach and employed loss adjusters to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident. The loss adjusters also obtained witness statements, considered medical reports and dealt with a great deal of the documentation, including denying liability on behalf of their client, dealing with the defendant’s insurance company and making disclosures to the claimant’s solicitors.
When the matter of costs came to be considered by the court, the riding school came unstuck. The costs master concluded that the work carried out by the loss adjusters in dealing with the claimant’s solicitors and corresponding with the insurer, repudiating liability, taking witness statements, together with the disclosure of documents is all work which would normally be done by solicitors, in the context of this type of litigation. Accordingly, the court ruled that these costs could not be claimed, even after the defendants had instructed a solicitor to deal with the legal issues arising. The court considered that this approach had breached the rule that litigation should be organised as effectively as possible from the start. Failing to place the matter under the supervision of a firm of solicitors from the beginning meant they came unstuck.