Sensible Decision on Costs Budget Irregularity

In the latest case to be reported, Americhem Europe Limited v George Walker Transport Limited [2014] EWHC 1881 (TCC), the High Court conisdered the issue of whether a costs budget signed by a costs draughtsman rather than a senior legal representative as required by Practice Direction 3D should make the budget a nullity.  The other side wished to reduce their ability to recover costs to simply the applicable court fees pursuant to CPR 3.14.

However, whilst the court agreed with the submission that the costs draughtsman was not a senior legal representative, it refused to dismiss the costs budget.  Instead it allowed the costs of making the application to the other side.  It could be suggested that this is a bit of a let off for the party involved. However, following the Mitchell and Denton cases, there still is in my view and inconsistent approach being taken to costs and in particular, budgetary breaches.  This particular decision is a sensible one to avoid a disproportionate response.  Although it must be right that a costs draughtsman is not qualified to judge that the provision of resources for a particular case was reasonable, such a irregularity should not render the budget a nullity.

If you have an issue to consider with your legal costs or challenging the other sides costs, please contact Marcus Croskell to discuss your individual case.

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