THE GOOGLE CASE & CIVIL PROCEDURE: BYTE SIZE VERSION

The judgment is Hegglin -v- Persons Unknown & Google [2014] EWHC 3793 is looked in at detail in an earlier post.  Many of the issues in that case are of considerable practical significance. It is worth distilling them.

PART 18 QUESTIONS

  • Orders will only be made under Part 18 when it is necessary and proportionate to allow a party to understand the case it has to meet.
  • Questions about the claimant’s connection with the jurisdiction were unlikely to affect the outcome of the case.
  • Replying to Google’s Part 18 questions would not result in a great saving of time or narrowing of issues.
  • The court refused to make an order that the claimant reply to Google’s Part 18 questions.

DISCLOSURE

  • Communications between the claimant and a reputation management company that were not privileged should already had been disclosed.
  • There was no evidence that the claimant had failed in the search and had failed to disclose relevant material.
  • The claimant had to disclose details of deleted e-mails together with a statement explaining the loss of any material and whether any of the deleted material was relevant and why.
  • Parties should be careful when making specific disclosure requests to make them sensible and proportionate.

COSTS CAPPING AND COSTS BUDGETING

  • The claimant’s application for costs capping of Google’s costs was made too late. The court refused to costs cap.
  • However the court could, and should, impose a costs budget.
  • Google’s costs of the trial were budgeted so that they were, broadly, similar to the claimant’s costs.
  • A party wishing to impose a costs cap/have costs budgeting should apply for this as early as possible.

PLEADINGS

  • Google had pleaded a certain key issue was “denied” when this should have been “admitted”.
  • Google also put forward replies which were at variance with its pleaded case.
  • Google’s Defence put in issue a large number of matters upon which it had very little prospect of success and therefore did not make clear its true case.
  • This was likely to have an impact on any recoverable costs if Google were to obtain a costs order with a substantial reduction in the costs incurred to date.

COSTS OF THE APPLICATION

  • Google were ordered to pay 75% of the costs of the application.
  • It would have been preferable if the claimant had separate figures for each individual application.
  • The claimant was not to recover the costs of complying with the order for disclosure in relation to the amended disclosure statement in relation to deleted e-mails.

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