Most civil disputes do not reach court and a primary reason for this is tactics.
Skilled and experienced litigation solicitors can make the difference between a reasonable resolution and a hugely expensive and risky journey through to trial. In almost all litigation, there are no outright winners.
In certain situations there can be opportunities to create what may turn out to be a decisive blow to the opposition, to perhaps bring them to the negotiating table or even to abandon or conceded a claim. The most obvious example of this is injunctions, but another powerful tool that litigation solicitors have is to make a successful application for security for costs.
A party may apply for security for costs (where if the court grants the order the party against whom it is made will have to pay a sum into court in respect of costs) in circumstances where he, she or it believes they can convince the court that there are grounds for believing that the other party won’t be able to meet costs ordered or will manipulate the position so as not to pay (for example perhaps a foreign based entity). As with all high reward tactical applications, this type of application is also high risk and can backfire.
In the case in question, Andrie Lazari v London & Newcastle (Camden) Limited, the claimant had agreed to buy an expensive flat from the defendant, a company which appeared to be a special purpose company subsidiary of a much bigger and wealthy group of companies.
The claimant was concerned about the potential risk that the defendants would simply liquidate the subsidiary company or that it would not have assets to satisfy a judgment against it.
The interesting aspect of this case was that rather than apply for security for costs (which she may not have obtained, the claimant applied for a conditional order, which is akin to an interim payment order which is common in personal injury claims.
The application was on the basis that the defendant had essentially admitted some of the allegations. The claimant applied for an order that £100,000 should be ordered to be paid into court. The effect of such an order, if successful, whilst focused on partial safeguarding of damages rather than costs, is not hugely materially different.
The outcome of the application was partial success. The defendant company was ordered to pay £30,000.00 into court and costs.
The case is a useful example of the tactics employed by litigation solicitors on both sides and how significant they can be. The defendant was perhaps seeking to play on the claimant’s fears that she would end up wasting money pursuing a legal entity that might not pay. The claimant decided on a high risk strategy to flush out the defendant’s weak position in law and largely it worked. The outcome of the case is not known but it is likely that the case has probably now settled.
As experienced litigation solicitors we offer expert advice on all aspects of your claim.