Queen guitarist Brian May says he has been left more than £140,000 out of pocket despite successfully suing a property developer over noise and disturbance.
Under new rules that limit the recovery of the costs in civil court actions to a “proportionate” amount, the musician’s initial £208,000 claim was reduced by a judge to just £35,000.
Dr May believes the so-called proportionality test is making it much harder for people to fight their corner for fear of being unable to claim their legal costs.
The former rock star and his wife had accepted £25,000 in settlement in a private nuisance case – but because their subsequent costs bill was so significantly reduced, the couple have been left with significant financial shortfall.
The action was brought after the owner of one of the houses on Dr May’s street began excavating a basement two stories deep.
Writing in The Times, Dr May said the work had gone on for three years, causing “immense distress”. He sued the developer of the property, Wavell Group Plc, and its owner, Farid Bizarri, for the loss of quality of life.
But he said that as a result of taking action, he has been left out of pocket to the tune of £141,000.
“Where’s the proportionality in that? Where’s the justice? This absurd proportionality rule makes it impossible for any wronged party to protect himself.
“This proportionality rule is a nonsense, and makes a mockery of justice; it is yet another way of ensuring that the super-rich can do anything that they like, including destroying the quality of life of those around them.
“What was in the mind of the people who introduced this ridiculous rule of proportionality?”
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