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Hopeless counterclaim

Litigation Letter

Hopeless counterclaim

Peakman v Linbrooke Services Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 1239 13 November; SJ 25 November p25

The claimant was employed by the defendant, as a subcontractor to carry out work for another company. They fell out and the claimant claimed £2,232.40 for work done, the cost of diesel fuel, damages for summarily terminating his contract and for the cost of replacing tools that had gone missing. Clearly, a small claims track case. However, the defendant counterclaimed some £3,000 for the cost of remedial work required to rectify the claimant’s allegedly defective work and also £30,000 loss of profits he had allegedly lost as a result of the claimant’s work. The claimant recovered £1,145 and the defendants recovered £1,410 and interest. The judgments were ordered to be satisfied by the payment of £265 plus interest by the claimant to the defendant. The claimant appealed against the judge’s refusal to make any order as to costs. The claimant contended that the counterclaim, which had resulted in the case being allocated to the multi-track had been hopeless from the beginning and the increased costs should have been reflected in the judge’s costs decision.

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