The cost of civil litigation is continually being debated and new rules or practice directions are being introduced. Lord Jackson’s 600+ page Civil Litigation Costs Review bears testament to the need to control the cost of litigation.
Much of the debate has centred around costs in defamation actions. This has led to the introduction of a pilot costs budgeting scheme which will operate in the Royal Courts of Justice and District Registry in Manchester until 30 September 2010.
This pilot scheme, contained in the Civil Procedure Rules as Practice Direction 51D, sets out a process where very detailed costs budgets are exchanged and filed with the court at various stages of the proceedings. It also introduces costs management conferences when the court may make directions to control the costs of an action based on the costs budgets and arguments made by each party.
Importantly, any judge conducting an assessment of costs will have regard to the budget estimates filed by the receiving party and unless there has been a significant change in circumstances the judge will approve as reasonable and proportionate any costs claimed which fall within the last approved budget. Save in exceptional circumstances the judge will not approve as reasonable and proportionate any costs claimed which do not fall within the last approved budget. The management of your own costs and the critical examination of opponent’s costs will now be more important than ever.
We have considerable experience in costs budgeting in civil litigation including defamation proceedings and consequently have the expertise to complete the daunting 9 page costs budgets now required. Under the scheme it will also be vitally important to raise issues on the costs budgets filed by your opponent to prevent the court from approving an amount that is unreasonable and disproportionate. As specialists in the opposition of legal costs we are able to provide speedy advice and summary points of issue in respect of the opponent’s costs budgets.
We charge fixed fees for preparing and updating the costs budgets and charge on a time spent basis for advising on opponent’s costs and preparing summary points of issue.
Please contact Malcolm Goodwin if you would like more information regarding the pilot scheme and our services.