The basis of QOCS is that the protection it affords against adverse costs applies to unsuccessful claims for personal injuries. These are conventionally argued in negligence against the defendant whose conduct caused the accident e.g. the negligent driver or employer. But should a statutory claim against an organisation which was not the tortfeasor be regarded as a claim for damages for personal injuries protected by QOCS?
The above is hardly a title to inspire fans of JK Rowling’s most famous character. However, there is a strong link to her best-selling books about the boy wizard in the recent decision on appeal in the road accident claim Cameron v Hussain. The unexpected common feature is bringing legal proceedings against unidentified people.
In 2003, Ms Rowling’s publishers, Bloomsbury, successfully sought an injunction to prevent persons unknown from publishing one of the Harry Potter novels before its scheduled release. The basis of the court’s discretion to allow an action against persons unknown has been developed further in the intervening decade and half, albeit generally in the context of injunctions rather than actions for damages.
On the same day this week that Chancellor Philip Hammond said the government would “progress urgently” to consult about the personal injury discount rate, the Petitions Committee, working jointly with the Transport Committee, heard evidence about the cost of car insurance for young drivers. The topic will be debated in Parliament after a petition calling for a £1,200 cap on the cost of car insurance for young drivers secured more than 180,000 signatures. The Parliamentary debate is scheduled for 20 March and it may be mere coincidence that this is the same date on which the statutory instrument bringing in the new negative discount rate is scheduled to take effect.