I am sure you have seen the recent updates to the CPR that are due to be implemented from today, 6 April 2016, but I just wanted to highlight them from a costs drafting point of view.
The main developments involve costs Budgets and the associated work, including an updated Precedent H.
If the case damages pleaded are less than £50,000 only the front page of the Budget requires lodging (likewise if the costs claimed in the Budget is less than £25,000). The deadline for lodging Budgets has also been updated to;
- If the damages claim is worth less than £50,000, the Budget is to be served with the Directions Questionnaire.
- In all other cases, the Budget is to be filed not later than 21 days before the first Case Management Conference.
Amongst the other important changes, claims by or on behalf of a minor are exempt from Budgeting where proceedings are issued on or after 6 April 2016. Similarly, cases where the Claimant has a limited life expectancy (less than 5 years) should also be exempt, which is likely to be extremely relevant in many clinical negligence and disease cases. However, some caution is advised to start, as there is a slight difference between the wording of the Statutory Instrument and the amendments to the Practice Direction, so further guidance will hopefully come to light over the coming weeks.
There is also the addition of a Budget discussion report, which requires filing not later than 7 days prior to the first CMC to show that attempts have been made to agree the Budgets.
Possibly the biggest change for us as costs draftsmen relates to the way Bills are to be drafted in future when a costs management order has been made. They will need to show the costs claimed for each phase separately. This is essentially the next step on from the current position of using Precedent Q.
All of these changes are only applicable for cases issued after 6 April 2016, so these will filter through a few months down the line. They will potentially have a huge impact on your workload.
We have noticed that some of our clients have prepared their own Budgets in the past, but we now feel that it is essential to have your file costed by a costs draftsman in order to ensure that the Budget is drawn as accurately as possible, as the incurred costs will have to be allocated to each appropriate phase to correlate between the Budget and the Bill. Likewise for the future/forecasted costs.
It is also important to remember that our fees for drafting the costs Budget are recoverable from the Defendant, providing of course that the case is successful. The updated Precedent H even has a special section for the fees at the bottom of the front page, allowing you to recover up to 1% of the total approved Budget as drafting fees plus 2% of the “Budget process” for updating, negotiating and agreeing your final Budget. This makes instructing us more cost-effective than ever before.
If you have any questions in relation to the updates, or any other costs matters, then please do not hesitate to email me by clicking here.