In PGI Group Ltd v Thomas & Ors  EWCA Civ 233 Kate Boakes (led by Ben Williams QC) acts on behalf of 31 Malawian women who were employed by a Malawian company, Lujeri, to work in tea or nut plantations in Malawi. They allege that they were raped, sexually assaulted, harassed and discriminated against by male employees of Lujeri. They have brought proceedings against Lujeri’s parent company, which is domiciled in England.
The Defendant applied for an order pursuant to CPR 3.19 that the Claimants’ costs be capped at £150,000. The application was made on the basis that the Claimants’ costs should be restricted to a comparable sum to what the Defendant contended it would have cost them to bring their claims in Malawi. Cavanagh J dismissed the application. He instead budgeted the Claimants’ costs at c£2.5 million, of which c£850,000 were future costs. He budgeted the Defendants’ costs in broadly the same overall amount (£2.5 million), of which c.£1.75 million were future costs.
The Defendant sought permission to appeal the refusal of the costs capping application. Recognising that authoritative guidance was required on the point, Coulson LJ directed that the parties attend for oral argument at the permission stage and, emphatically refusing permission, directed that the judgment be cited.
The judgment can be found here.