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  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.”