Coventry v Lawrence

    October 2014

    The recent Supreme Court decision in Coventry v Lawrence (No.2) [2014] UKSC 46 raised an important issue concerning the pre-Jackson costs regime: can an order for costs (which includes a success fee under a conditional fee agreement (“CFA”) or an ATE premium) infringe Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the “Convention”)?

    A unanimous Supreme Court decided that the respondents’ liability for costs may be inconsistent with their Convention rights. Due to the potential impact of such a ruling, it was decided that it would be inappropriate to come to a conclusion without giving time for further submissions. The question of whether such a costs order infringed Article 6 is therefore, for now, left open.