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Optional Provisional Costs Budgeting ……

Catherine Walmsley, Costs Lawyer

Catherine Walmsley, Costs Lawyer

An interesting posting has appeared on the Manchester Law Society website and may well indicate the start of things to come. Manchester has recently indicated that for ‘CAT’ claims proceeding at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, the parties may, prior to the Costs CMC, request that the same be conducted on paper without a hearing.

Full details are available on the link …

http://www.manchesterlawsociety.org.uk/2014/09/08/provisional-costs-budgeting-in-cat-claims/

We are aware that Queen’s Bench Master Leslie has adopted a similar approach and offers a summary procedure, culminating in his open ‘without prejudice’ figure being provided. If the figure is not accepted by the parties, the matter is then set down for a full CCMC.

We anticipate that similar approaches will be adopted by many more Courts.

This approach will perhaps be welcome news for those who are finding the costs of dealing with Costs CMCs themselves escalating. However, it is important to keep in mind CPR 3.18, which provides that: –

“In any case where a costs management order has been made, when assessing costs on the standard basis, the court will –

(a) have regard to the receiving party’s last approved or agreed budget for each phase of the proceedings; and

(b) not depart from such approved or agreed budget unless satisfied that there is good reason to do so.

If Courts are likely to undertake ‘provisional budgeting’ without a hearing it is essential that detailed assumptions are provided with the Precedent H to assist in justifying the level of costs claimed. For those familiar with PIC budgets, such detailed assumptions have been routinely provided since April 2013.

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