Defective ATE insurance certificates

When After-the-Event insurance premiums became recoverable back in 2000, the Costs Practice Direction introduced the following rule as to what should be provided when serving a bill of costs:

32.5(2) – If the additional liability is an insurance premium: a copy of the insurance certificate showing whether the policy covers the receiving party’s own costs; his opponent’s costs; or his own costs and his opponent’s costs; and the maximum extent of that cover; and the amount of the premium paid or payable.

Other than some subtle changes to the wording, to make this gender neutral, the rule remains the same today.

So why is it that 10 years after this rule was introduced I still routinely see certificates served with bills of costs that do not comply?

The most common defect is a certificate that fails to identify what it covers.

Almost as common is a failure to serve any certificate at all but instead serve a consumer credit agreement in relation to the ATE policy that doesn’t itself come close to complying with the requirements of 32.5(2).

Given the consequences of failing to serve a compliant certificate (see CPR 44.3B(1)(e)) you would think ATE insurers would make a bit more effort. How hard can it be?

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