New bill of costs format released


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The committee developing the new bill of costs format has released the following documents:

Guidance Document

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Print Version

This was accompanied by the following:

“We are inviting comments/suggestions on the draft new bill of costs by 18.9.15. It is planned that there will be a Practice Direction in force from the start of October 2015 which will enable parties to use the new bill of costs in cases in the SCCO instead of the existing model (although at this stage there is no requirement to use the new bill, only that it is voluntary and you would not be in breach of the rules if you adopted it). The longer term plan at present is that there will be a pilot in all SCCO cases where the costs order giving rise to the right to costs has been made on or after 1st April 2016 where the new bill of costs will be the recommended form of bill in place of the existing model.

Please email any such comments or suggestions to alexander.huttonqc@hailshamchambers.com and david.nelson@pathfinderconsulting.com (both please) by 4pm on 18.9.15. Please do not expect an instant response from us as we will be collating comments together and considering them as a whole. But we value your help in hopefully improving the current draft of the new bill. Please also read the guidance documents carefully before you email as some of the answers to queries may well be in them.”

Defendants’ artificially low costs budgets


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I previously commented on the Coulson J, in CIP Properties (AIPT) Ltd v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd & Ors (Costs No. 2) [2015] EWHC 481 (TCC), as to the suggestion a defendant might try to submit a knowingly low costs budget:

“In his written submissions on behalf of the claimant, one of the points made … was that the court should not have any great regard to the costs budget figures put forward by the defendant and the additional parties because they had ‘an incentive’ to advance low figures in their costs budgets. This suggestion of manipulation of the figures by the other parties was, understandably, the subject of considerable protest. It seemed to me to be an unwarranted accusation. In truth, the party who was most vulnerable to such an accusation was the claimant itself.”

We can now add the comments of Stuart-Smith J in GSK Project Management Ltd v QPR Holdings Ltd [2015] EWHC 2274:

“Counsel for the Claimant in the present case submitted (rather faintly in the end) that the Defendant had underestimated the resources that were necessary. To my mind, if such a submission is to be made at all in the face of a Solicitor’s statement of truth that his costs budget is a fair and accurate statement of incurred and estimated costs ‘which it would be reasonable and proportionate for my client to incur in this litigation’, it needs to be properly substantiated; and that substantiation will probably require evidence and not mere assertion. It has not been substantiated in the present case.”