Legal Cost Specialists

Costs budgeting and detailed assessment

I note one of Lord Justice Jackson’s recent recommendations concerning costs budgeting is:

“Until the new form bill of costs is developed, in those cases where detailed assessment proceedings are commenced, the receiving party should lodge a summary of its bill in a format which matches Precedent H”

Is it just me or is it hopelessly naive to believe that a receiving party who discovers they have overspent on one phase of a budget but underspent on another will not simply shift the work over in the summary from the overspend to the underspend? In the absence of a detailed bill showing what work has actually been done by phase, how is the true position to be established?

I also find it difficult to see how the information provided by a summary (even if accurate) is then meant to be applied to a detailed bill that is not drafted by phase. For example, if the summary shows an overspend of £10,000 on a particular phase, where does the judge make the deduction from the detailed bill? Does the judge just not knock £10,000 off the total bill at the end of the assessment?

4 thoughts on “Costs budgeting and detailed assessment”

  1. After the comments of the Regional Costs Judges and the Costs Masters at the panel session at the Annual Conference, I have been preparing Bills in 10 + parts so that CPR 3.18 can be applied. Others I have spoken to have been doing this for some time I believe.

  2. I understood Jackson meant, that a summary account to show the work in the Precedent H phases, should be lodged WITH the Detailed Bill when commencing DA. That should be easy enough for any competent draftsman to do, assuming they have kept consistent drafting notes throughout, and simply added to them for the final bill

    It makes no sense otherwise just to lodge a summary; indeed, doing so would belie the entire Part 47 process, so unless he intends throwing that out entirely and just letting a Judge pick a figure…………

  3. Father Costsmas

    To quote the great Malcolm Tucker

    “This is exactly the sort of thing we SHOULD be doing! …….Should! Should does not mean yes!”

  4. At a conference in Manchester last year the panel and judges had no interest in compelling receiving parties to draw phased bills . That clearly doesn’t help.

    I don’t understand why you wouldn’t unless you were so far under the budget to render it irrelevant. At the end of the day you take longer to draw the bill and charge accordingly. If you don’t draw it phased it looks like your hiding something in my opinion

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