BUDGETS, ASSUMPTIONS AND AGREEMENT: GUIDANCE FROM THE BENCH: PRECEDENT R WILL HELP YOU OUT IF YOU EVER WANT TO DEPART FROM THE BUDGET
I have already paid homage to the Solicitors Journal. The articles in the last edition show how much it contributed . Given the inability of the SJ to draw attention to itself I draw everyone’s attention to the article by District Judge Lumb Know where you’re starting from before you depart. DJ Lumb emphasises the importance of keeping a record of the assumptions underlying the budget. Here, I take on the difficult task, of summarising what is already succinct guidance.
THE GUIDANCE IN A NUTSHELL
- Following the decision in Harrison It is important for parties to record the assumptions made when a budget is set.
- The filing of the front page of the budget does not record the assumptions.
- Ideally assumptions should be recorded in the costs management order. However time restrictions often prevent this happening.
- It is prudent for the parties to agree to take carriage of the order and agree terms in relation to the assumptions.
- At a minimum the advocates should prepare an agreed note of the assumptions.
“Failure to take such steps risks the cost judge at detailed assessment having to guess what assumptions were made by the case managing judge – not a sound base from which to assess a good reason to depart”
- A better approach is for the parties to agree, in advance, the assumptions behind the budget
- Precedent R is particularly useful in this respect.
“Any simple assertion raised at assessment that a costs management order was too generous or too mean is doomed to failure. The proper remedy for an aggrieved party was to appeal the costs management order.“