Watson v Simpson Croydon County Court 4 October 2012
Not a stunningly important appeal to a Circuit Judge, this one, but a useful case to be able to wave around on costs.
Ms Simpson was a private AST tenant of Mr Watson, whose tenancy had become a statutory periodic one. Mr Watson apparently wanted her out. He served what was described as notice to quit, then began possession proceedings. He did not serve any s.21 Notice (of any sort, vide Spencer v Taylor). The Particulars of Claim were on form N119. There were no particulars of any rent arrears, or other breach, nor was there a claim for use and occupation charges.
Unsurprisingly, the District Judge dismissed the possession claim. However, the Order stated ‘no order as to costs’.
Ms S was apparently represented and legally aided. It appears this was a factor. It also appears that the DJ may have heard and taken into account the history between Ms S and Mr W.
Ms S appealed. HHJ Ellis held that when departing from the usual costs order under CPR 44.2, ‘the conduct’ of the parties meant litigation conduct, not the conduct of the relationship of landlord and tenant as a whole. Further, following Governing Body of JFS  1 WLR 2353, how a party was funded was irrelevant to determining the inter partes costs order.
Our thanks to December 2013 Legal Action’s ‘Recent Developments in Housing Law’ for alerting us to this case.