Judge refuses to cut costs despite damages failure

Spencer: No deliberate exaggeration

The fact that a successful claimant recovered less than 10% of the damages he sought was not a sufficient reason to disallow some of his costs, the High Court has ruled.

Mr Justice Martin Spencer said that even though the claimant was only awarded £127,000, having sought £1.5m, this was not a case of deliberate exaggeration.

Rashid v Oil Companies International Marine Forum [2019] EWHC 2600 (QB) followed the substantive decision on the claim by a qualified Master Mariner over the removal of his accreditation as a ship inspector.

Martin Spencer J ruled that the process which led to the removal of Captain Arshad Rashid’s accreditation was “deeply flawed, wholly unfair on him and a serious breach of the principles of fairness and natural justice”.

Saying that the claimant should only be awarded a proportion of his costs as a result, the defendant suggested that this was an exaggerated claim, that it was rejected in the judgment on grounds that it was not supported by the sort of evidence which would have been expected, and was unsustainable.

Martin Spencer J said this was a case in which the claimant “felt very strongly that his integrity had been impugned by the defendant and that this was a case which he needed to bring to restore his reputation and his ability as an inspector which had been impugned by the removal of his accreditation by the defendant”.

He was in “no doubt” that Captain Rashid “genuinely believed himself to be entitled to the damages which were claimed”, but his ability to prove them fell “far below the level at which I could have made any such award”.

But, he continued, this was “far from” a case of deliberate exaggeration; Captain Rashid believed his accreditation was removed wrongly at a time when he hoped that his business would take off and result in the kind of rewards which were reflected in the schedule of loss.

The judge said: “I do not know whether the award of damages in fact eventually made was disappointing to Captain Rashid, and, if so, then that is as it is, but I do not take the view in a case such as this that it would be appropriate to make any order other than the usual order for costs on account of the fact that the damages recovered were significantly less than those that had been claimed.”

    Readers Comments

  • Shahzad Yousuf says:

    I have known Capt Arshad Rashid since 1979 when we joined Pakistan Marine Academy. An upright guy and totally honest. The OCIMF should have been made to pay more. No amount of money justifies when one is made to feel humiliated and that’s what was done to Capt Arshad. I sincerely hope that after the judgement by the honourable court, the OCIMF does some soul searching and improve their working and not take arbitrary decisions like the sicilian mafisio.

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