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Cost budgeting
 

BEAT THE BUDGET 

The 1st April 2013 saw the advent of costs budgeting for all multi-track cases commenced on or after that day in a county court, the Chancery or Queen’s Bench Division (except the Admiralty and Commercial Courts). The provisions, set out in the new Rule 3 and Practice Direction 3E, are designed to enable the courts to manage cases in order to control the amounts being spent in pursuing them. This is done in a bid to ensure that the costs incurred are reasonable and proportionate (and visible) before most of the work has been done and the costs incurred. Click the link to read Mr Justice Ramsey's lecture  on the topic. This link takes you to the Statutory Instrument that implements the amended Rules.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO DO

A costs budget in Form H has to be prepared by each side and exchanged within 28 days of the date of deemed service of the Rule 26.3(1) Court Notice (issued when a Defence is filed) and an attempt should be made to agree them. The court may then make a costs management order to record the fact of any agreed budgets or, in default of agreement, consider the budgets and revise/approve them. The budget sets out separately the costs already incurred and the estimated costs needed to conclude the case. Fail to comply with the provisions and if this were Monopoly you’d go directly to jail. Luckily, in the real world you’ll 'only' be hit by the severe cost penalty that applies - you'll have a deemed cost budget of court fees only.

HOW IT WORKS

The Court will exercise control by way of determining a costs budget for matters at costs management hearings. The budgets will need to be monitored and updated as the case progresses. The provisions are detailed, but if the costs budgeting applied in defamation cases since 1st October 2009 under PD 51D is any guide, put simply, stick to the budget and you should recover the costs within it. Stray from it and you will struggle to recover the excess.

BUDGET BLUES

There is no need to look for another career just yet. We can help you beat the budget blues by making sure that the budgets you submit are both accurate and kept up to date. You will have to do your bit by planning the future steps required in the case (in a reasonable and proportionate manner, no doubt), which we can then cost for you. Together we will survive (hopefully).

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