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Getting your budget right

Burcher JenningsBy Legal Futures’ Associate Burcher Jennings [1]

Preparing a Precedent H costs budget is a crucial step for any litigant who is looking to recover their inter-partes costs in a Multi-Track claim. Getting the budget right the first time is essential, as any application to correct mistakes or omissions is extremely unlikely, and will not amount to “good reasons” to depart from the approved budget. The following points should be kept in mind when preparing your costs budget.

1. Know the rules

2. Use the Guidance Note for Precedent H

3. Make sure the budget is in the correct format and is populated accurately

4. Costing Incurred Work

5. Completing the Estimated Part of the Budget

Upcoming Changes

The CPR committee have proposed some changes to the Precedent H Guidance Note to align costs budgeting with the new electronic bill approach. They have also proposed some small changes to procedure.

At the moment, the CPR committee have only confirmed the outline of what they are proposing, they have not published details of the amended form and rules or when it is likely to be implemented. Keep an eye out for these changes and make sure that you obtain and use the updated guidance note.

Final Reminder

Once a costs budget has been agreed/approved and a Costs Management Order made the Court will only allow revisions to the approved budget due to a significant development in the litigation. Discovering that there was an error in the original budget as drawn or that the amount estimated was simply inadequate for the work needed to be done will never be accepted as justifying an upwards revision to a budget and is very unlikely to be considered a good reason to depart from an approved budget upon assessment. Therefore, it is vitally important to get the budget right first time as errors and omissions leading to a shortfall in recoverable costs will ultimately have to be borne by the Solicitors.

This article was written by Nick Kitchen is a Legal Executive and senior costs practitioner working at the Exeter branch of Burcher Jennings [2].