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Adam Solomon QC and Sophia Berry in High Court Costs Victory

On Friday 16 March 2018 the High Court handed down judgment in Marcura Equities FZE & Ors v Nisomar Ventures & Ors [2018] EWHC 523 (QB). CLICK HERE to read the judgment.

Adam Solomon QC and Sophia Berry represented the successful Claimants, two companies based in Dubai which produce computer software for the shipping industry.

The Claimants brought a claim in respect of the Defendants’ misuse of their confidential information and procurement of their former employee to breach his restrictive covenants and contractual confidentiality obligations. The Claimants sought damages and final injunctive relief from the Defendants. They had secured interim injunctive relief at the outset of proceedings.

The Parties agreed a consent order shortly before trial. The terms of the order provided that the Claimants would receive (i) £35,000 in damages; and (ii) final injunctive relief in the terms they had sought.

Nicholas Vineall QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) set out the right approach to take regarding costs applications when all other matters between the Parties have settled. The court will not seek to determine the underlying dispute, but will compare the pleaded claim with what was in fact obtained in the settlement. He therefore held that the Defendants should pay the Claimants’ costs of the proceedings as they were the successful parties. The Judge dismissed the Defendants’ argument that £35,000 was a nominal sum of damages that was wholly disproportionate to the costs incurred in pursuing the claim. He also considered that it would be wrong to focus exclusively on that sum when considering who the successful parties were, especially in a confidential information case, in which damages are often one of the least important parts of the relief sought. This case is therefore significant when determining costs in employee competition and confidential information matters.

Adam Solomon QC and Sophia Berry were instructed by HFW LLP

Chris Quinn represented the Defendants instructed by Collyer Bristow LLP

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