As far back as 2005, Lord Justice Brooke observed in Black v Pastouna & Anor  EWCA Civ 1389 that:
“It is incumbent on those advising parties appearing before this, or any, court to take all the steps they can in accordance with CPR Rules 1.1 and 1.3 to reduce the cost of the proceedings. This includes taking advantage of such cost-saving facilities as video-conferencing whenever they are available and it is appropriate to use them.”
It is fair to say that this was probably observed more in the breach than the observance.
Eighteen months ago, many solicitors would have been astounded at the suggestion that it might be possible to hold a conference with the client and/or counsel and/or experts other than around a table with everyone in attendance. As a consequence, £1,000s of additional costs were routinely incurred in travel time and costs for each conference.
Now, conferences, JSMs, and even full trials, are routinely being conducted remotely.
It will no longer be plausible to argue that a conference needs to be face-to-face to be effective.
However, the technology to make this happen has not been invented in the last eighteen months. Its existence was recognised in 2005. The technology has been in most people’s pockets for at least the last decade.
It is not really much of an excuse to argue that it is only because of Covid-19 that solicitors realised what was possible and available.
For any existing, or future, claims for costs, receiving parties are likely to face an uphill struggle justifying the cost of travel to conferences.