BACK TO BASICS 16: COSTS BUDGETING: THE GUIDANCE NOTES ON PRECEDENT H

There is much written about the process of costs budgeting.  There is much to be said, when preparing for a hearing – and often at the hearing itself, looking at the Practice Direction and Guidance Notes.

THE PRACTICE DIRECTION

The Practice Direction can be found here.

THE GUIDANCE NOTES

The Guidance Notes  precedent-h-guidance-note are always a useful aide memoire, both in the preparation of a budget but also when attending a budgeting hearing.  There are some useful reminders

“5. Allowance must be made in each phase for advising the client, taking instructions and corresponding with the other party/parties and the court in respect of matters falling within that phase.”

“Any party may apply to the court if it considers that another party is behaving oppressively in seeking to cause the applicant to spend money disproportionately on costs and the court will grant such relief as may be appropriate.”

THE USEFUL TABLE

One of the most useful aspects of the Guidance Notes is the table that shows what is, and what is not, included in each phase.

For instance a defendant will often argue that the preparation of  “trial bundles” should not be included in the budget.  This is a misnomer.  The phase for trial preparation does include “Trial bundles”, however it does not include “Assembling and/or copying the trial bundle (this is not fee earners’ work)”. So the intellectual effort of deciding, or agreeing, what should be in the bundle is recoverable, the costs physically preparing the bundle are not.

The Table also makes it clear that settlement includes “Settlement … meetings between the parties” but that  “Mediation (should be included as a contingency)”.