Let us help you through this new litigation procedure and remove all the stress of preparing your own Costs Budgets. We can help you with our extensive experience in legal costs to prepare your budgets and save you both time and money, not to mention relieving your stress!

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The Current Climate 

The introduction of the Costs Budget system of front-loading Legal Costs turned things in the world of litigation very much on their head. After a few years' of existence budgets are now a necessary evil in terms of the work litigators must do in order to maintain momentum in their case going forward. There are those practitioners who find Cost Budgets a God-send and those who feel that the required clairvoyance to accurately predict the lumps and bumps of any case will ultimately see the demise of the Budget system as we know it so far.  

Only once a litigator reaches the conclusion of the case will they be able to tell whether their Costs Budget was remotely correct and meets the level of legal fees actually incurred. The problem may then be further exacerbated when the matter does come before a court as the ruling of the court will fall to be determined by the level of insight held by the presiding Judge. The problem here is that without extensive explanation (which somewhat defeats the object of Cost Budgets being a time (and cost) saving device) the court may not always be fully up to speed with the ins and outs of running the wide variety of litigation actions and therefore, may not be fully able to say with any degree of certainty, what is or is not appropriate for each case.  

The simple answer may be, that Solicitors’ time should be better spent progressing the legal action itself rather than trying to predict the potential level of costs which will be incurred years down the line; if this is the case then an experienced legal costs expert is be the key to avoiding preparing lengthy and time consuming Costs Budgets.

Recent Case Law 

After the mess which was made of things in Mitchell  v NGN Ltd which was interpreted with extreme application by the courts, it is an inescapable conclusion that the Mitchell decision was a low point in the world of legal costs and almost certainly created more problems than it solved. Mitchell, in some cases, only served to remove all sense of logic or reasoning from the presiding judge. Help and relief are now very much at hand in the form of the Denton v TH White Ltd ruling. 

What Denton v TH White Ltd does is remove the knife-edge on which litigation practitioners (Claimant in particular) were balancing by re-positioning the goal posts (back on to a level playing field) so that Applications for Relief from Sanctions can now be granted, whereas under the strict interpretation of the Mitchell the court would have had limited option but to disallow them.

In Denton the court acknowledged, and therefore re-set the standard, that the breach in this instance was unlikely to cause considerable impact on the progress of proceedings, i.e. the breach was neither considerable nor serious so as to prevent Relief from Sanctions being granted. The Denton principle has since been applied so as to assist Claimant Solicitors by not seeing their claims struck out for want of adhering to the rules or timetable prescribed by the court.

How to Prepare Your Costs Budgets

In terms of procedure for preparing Costs Budgets these should be prepared in conjunction with guidance from relevant notes and pro forma documents coupled with a large degree of common sense. It would be unwise to say that it is a matter of Trial and Error, but so far there is no definitive test as to what should and should not be included in your Costs Budget.

Part of the problem faced by litigators comes down to the preparation of Cost Budgets insofar as certainly a solicitor will be well versed in the procedural elements of any given case but by contrast he may not be so au fait with the costs ramifications of the steps they are proposing to follow. There is no doubt that many professional man hours will be spent preparing Costs Budgets but this need not necessarily always be the case. In the same way as the litigator is a specialist in their field, so too is an experienced Costs Draftsman probably just as able to prepare a budget himself being an expert in their own discipline.


Get Help with Your Budgets

Aside from taking the smart step of asking a costs expert to prepare your budget, further benefit can also found when you consider the respective charge rates applied to Draftsmen when compared with solicitors or fee earners. In the same way as the litigator brings specific knowledge to the table, so too does an experienced draftsman and by allowing the a draftsman to undertake the Costs Budget preparation not only is an economic saving made in terms of hourly rate but also saving of litigation man-hours. 

If you need help and guidance in planning your Costs Budget or want further information about what is required pick up the telephone or contact us directly by providing your details in the box to the right.

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