Retrospective costs budgeting

Costs Judge Master O’Hare, writing in New Law Journal (adapted from O’Hare and Browne: Civil Litigation, 16th Ed), on costs budgeting:

“One problem here is whether a party can obtain an approval retrospectively. In our opinion, the court can approve any costs incurred after the date of a party’s first budget, even if they were incurred before the approval was sought.”

This flies in the face of Regional Costs Judge Chris Lethem’s views on the subject which are:

“There is no retrospection in costs budgeting. Note the wording of CPR 3.15(1):

‘In addition to exercising its other powers, the court may manage the costs to be incurred by any party in any proceedings.’”

This is a disagreement not over how the court should exercise its discretion but what the rules allow.

For what it’s worth, I’m with Chris Lethem on this one.

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