Coventry v Lawrence: old style costs regime survives human rights challenge

On 23 July 2014, in the Supreme Court judgment in Coventry v Lawrence [2014] UKSC 46, Lord Neuberger endorsed the arguability of the defendant’s case that its liability to pay the successful party’s success fee and ATE premium breached the defendant’s Convention rights under article 6 (the right to a fair trial) and Article 1 of the First Protocol, known as A1P1 (the right to possessions). The Supreme Court permitted interventions from the Law Society, the Bar Council and others. Almost one year later, the Supreme Court  tempered their criticisms of the old regime by a majority of 5:2 and backed away from any finding of Convention non-compliance.  

In an article first published by the PI Brief Update Law Journal in August 2015, Rob Weir QC comments on Coventry v Lawrence [2015] UKSC 50. He acted for the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum UK which intervened before the Supreme Court.

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