Sarah Robson Barrister
Practical guidance on what to do when faced with multiple CNFs for the same claim
Mozzano v Riwa
DDJ Dawson, Birkenhead CC, 24th April 2012
The Defendant received a CNF, accepted the claim and admitted liability. The Defendant paid the Stage 1 costs. The Defendant then received a second CNF from a different firm for the same accident they already had a live Portal claim for.
The Defendant solicitors sought confirmation from the second firm that they were properly acting for the Claimant, which was received 17 days later. The Defendant admitted liability within 15 days of receiving that confirmation but the claim had timed out of the Portal by then.
Part 7 proceedings were issued and damages were later settled but not costs. The matter went to a hearing to determine what costs the parties were entitled to.
The court noted that there was nothing in the rules which provided for what to do in this sort of case. However, the judge found at  that because of the doubt over the identity of who exactly was the authorised representative, it was incumbent on the Claimant to confirm who was acting for him. The judge also held at  that time would only start to run from the delivery of the confirmation of authority to act and clarification of the correct identity of the Claimant's solicitors on the Defendant.
The judge also held at  that it was a matter for the second Claimant solicitors to sort out Stage 1 costs with the first firm of solicitors, that was not for the Defendant to do.
The judge held that the Claimant was only entitled to Portal costs, and the second firm was only entitled to Stage 2 costs, Stage 1 costs having already been paid to the first firm.
Please note there are two judgments, the first deals with a late skeleton argument, the second with the substantive matter.