We asked some of our specialists for their comments.
Christopher McClure (Manchester Regional Manager) said “The decision is both sensible and fair. It restores parity to the operation of CPR r. 3.18 by providing that “good reason to depart” applies in both directions equally. According to Davis JL, the contention that CPR r. 3.18 weighed exclusively upon the receiving party demonstrated “a most unappealing lack of reciprocity”.
Marc Banyard (Costs Lawyer at Cardiff) thought that “This decision shows that the Courts are solidly backing the Jackson reforms both in spirit and to the letter. Furthermore it is clearly the correct decision. The wording of the relevant Rule (that the Court, on detailed assessment, ‘will not depart from [the] approved or agreed budget unless satisfied that there is good reason to do so’) contains no caveat that the Rule only applied to upwards departure, with the Costs Judge being free to depart downwards without any good reason to do so being demonstrated. Indeed the new Rules were clearly intended at providing greater certainty to parties going forwards with litigation such that everything is not left ‘on the table’ for detailed assessment as had hitherto been the case."
Marc adds, "from a personal point of view, this (along with the judgment in Merrix) is gratifying in that I have been advising clients since the introduction of budgeting that this was the correct reading of the relevant Rule and have been disputing claims for costs on that basis.”
We shall leave the last word to Philip Morris (Birmingham Regional Manager), who pithily adds: “Good news for receiving parties”.
What more needs to be said?
About the Author:
Lee Coulthard is a based in West Yorkshire at our Leeds Office and is widely acknowledged as a technical legal costs authority. Lee is regularly instructed by receiving and paying parties to appear in court centres throughout England and Wales. Call Lee direct on 01943 601350 or by email email@example.com