In Beardmore v Lancashire County Council (County Court at Liverpool, 1/2/19), His Honour Judge Graham Wood QC allowed the claimant to recover medical agency fees incurred in obtaining medical records in an EL/PL Portal claim despite the fact there is no express allowance for this in the CPR, unlike the RTA Portal rules.
A medical agency had been instructed to obtain the claimant’s medical records. The direct costs were £50 for the hospital notes and £10 for the GP notes. With a profit element on top, the claimant sought £96 including VAT in relation to each.
The defendant had argued that only the direct costs were recoverable.
The RTA Portal rules makes specific provision for the recovery of the medical agency fee as a disbursement of up to £30 on top of the direct costs (CPR 45.29I (2A)(c)).
HHJ Wood concluded:
“CPR 45.29I (2) allows for the recovery of a medical agency fee in this public liability case as a disbursement, and it is not excluded by the specific reference to the maximum recovery for the medical agency fee in RTA claims. In a public liability case, in my judgment, the appropriate measure for the disbursement recovery is the reasonable and proportionate cost of obtaining the medical records”.
In the absence of any evidence as to how the £96 figure had been arrived at, HHJ Wood allowed the same amounts as would have been recovered in an RTA Portal matter (ie the direct cost of obtaining the records plus £30 per set plus VAT).