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What is the preliminary issue that the court are considering?
to decide whether the appointed (accountant) experts decision is final and binding as per contract
If you win then you will be entitled to your costs as they follow the event. However in reality you will only recover about 70 to 80 % of your costs for reasons that are very complex unless the court decides that the other side have behaved badly enough to give you indemnity costs. As such you may have some cause for concern. In the first instance I would discuss this with your solicitors.
I hope this helps. If there are any further points please reply
My solicitor is on a CFA, and counsel's costs are covered by ATE. We've a part 36 in place which I suspect is significantly lower than the award will be. My real question is whether or not it's a risky strategy deciding the case as a preliminary issue
If the contract provides that there is an arbitration process and the decision is final then the court can decide to refuse to deal with the case on the basis that the arbitration is binding on both sides and final. This is why it is being dealt with as a preliminary issue because the court will decide whether they can deal with the case or not