COSTS MANAGEMENT HEARINGS AND FORM H: PRACTICAL GUIDANCE AND A USEFUL SCHEDULE
Costs Management hearings are still relatively novel. A previous post set out links to posts and articles that provide some guidance. Here are a few practical tips and a useful Schedule to highlight the differences.
YOU CAN’T HAVE THINGS TWICE: SHOW THAT THERE IS NO DUPLICATION BETWEEN PRE-ACTION/ALREADY INCURRED COSTS AND FUTURE COSTS
Judges are understandably anxious to ensure that there is no duplication between costs already incurred and future costs claimed. There is no clear method of showing this on Form H. There is a risk of duplication, or apparent duplication, in relation to witness evidence and disclosure in particular. Make sure you can show that there is, in fact, no duplication and why further/additional work needs to be done.
DON’T THROW IN THE KITCHEN SINK
There is a school of thought that appears to favour throwing every possible claim and contingency into the Form H. This is likely to be counter-productive. Indeed highly counter-productive. The safest strategy is to produce as accurate an estimate of the future costs as possible. If contingencies are necessary you must show why.
KNOW, AND TAKE THE RULES AND THE GUIDANCE
Even the judges with most experience of Costs Budgeting have the rules , practice direction, and guidance notes on their desk. Read these and take them with you. You can find yourself involved in abstract debates about principle which can be easily solved by reference to these.
PREPARE A “SCOTT SCHEDULE”
Some courts (and I do not know whether this is a national or local practice) direct that the claimant file a schedule/summary showing the parties’ individual claims on each head of damages in a manner easy to identify the differences.
Even if there is no such direction do this anyway. It is a useful tool for the advocate. It shows where the major differences are. These will, invariably, be the major areas of dispute.
YOU CAN USE THE PRECEDENT WHICH HAS BEEN INCLUDED IN MY RECENT POST AT COST MANAGEMENT HEARINGS AND FORM H : BLANK SCHEDULE
(Remember this is an aide memoire only. I am not stating that this precedent is the document your court will require. You must read the directions carefully).