EQC liable to pay a proportion of homeowners' legal costs 14 Sep 2014

In a recent High Court decision – Whiting v The Earthquake Commission [2014] NZHC 1736 - EQC was ordered to pay a proportion of a homeowners’ legal costs, following settlement of the homeowners’ legal claim against EQC and the homeowners’ insurer.


On what basis did the homeowners seek costs?

What did the Court decide and why?

  1. What was the position as between EQC and the homeowners at the time the legal claim was filed?
  2. What were the homeowners attempting to achieve by filing a legal claim?
  3. Was it reasonable for the homeowners to commence legal proceedings?
  4. Why did EQC not settle the homeowners’ claim before April 2014?
  5. Did EQC’s settlement of the claim represent a vindication of the homeowners’ decision to issue proceedings?


The Court held it was not unreasonable for the homeowners to file legal proceedings.


 It was not clear why EQC had not been able to settle the claim earlier:


EQC’s change of position did justify the homeowners’ decision to file proceedings:


It would not be just for the homeowners to pay EQC’s costs.

Why were full costs not awarded?

 Will costs always be awarded against EQC for a similar type of claim?


If we can assist in any way with your insurance claim, please don’t hesitate to contact Paul Cowey at paulcowey@parryfield.com.