Costs Budgeting in the Court of Protection and the Family Courts

Many areas of law have escaped the automatic Costs Budgeting regime, for instance:

  • Fast Track cases where fixed costs do not apply;
  • Part 8 claims;
  • Insolvency Act claims; and
  • Part 7 claims which exceed £10 million, to name a few.

However the Court is able to order that Costs Management can apply to any case (Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) 3.12 (1); Paragraph 2, PD 3E to CPR Part 3). The case of CIP Properties v Galliford Try Infrastructures Ltd [2014] EWHC 3546 highlights the relevance of Costs Management for high value cases and confirms that the costs of a case where the claim for damages exceeded £10 million could indeed be cost managed.

Although Costs Management can apply to any CPR case, there continues to be many areas of law that it does not apply to.  It is becoming evident that the Costs Management regime is paving the way in how costs are managed by the Court and that other Courts who are not exposed to automatic Costs Budgeting are understanding those benefits and are expressing their views.  The recent judgments of Peter Jackson J in A & B (Court of Protection: Delay & Costs) [2014] EWCOP 8 and of Mr Justice Mostyn in J v J [2014] EWHC 3654 (Fam) and V v V [2011] EWHC 1190 (Fam) all discuss the need for Costs Management.

Peter Jackson J expressed his opinion that costs of £9,000.00 per month were “extravagant” and “there is a direct correlation between delay and expense”. He further commented that “the court and the parties have a duty to ensure that the costs are reasonable”.

The costs claimed in the family proceedings were described by Mr Justice Mostyn as “grotesque” and “absurd”.

Peter Jackson J requested that the President of the Court of Protection review the management of Court of Protection cases and “believes that time has come to introduce the same disciplines in the Court of Protection as now apply in the Family Court”.

If adopted by the Courts properly, Costs Management can successfully ensure that costs remain proportionate.  It is essential in both the Court of Protection and the Family Courts that cases are managed properly and costs do not escalate as a result of poor management.

If you have any questions or queries in relation to this blog please contact Sue Fox (sue.fox@clarionsolicitors.com and 0113 3363389) or the Clarion Costs Team on 0113 2460622.

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