Confusion has reigned regarding the filing of Costs Budgets. The rule change on 22 April 2014 has clarified the position and it is now clear that the budget does not need to be filed with the directions questionnaire if no order has been made to do so. The case of Porbanderwalla v Daybridge Limited also supports this.
The position for failing to file the budget within the requisite time limit is clear – the budget will be reduced to court fees. This sanction only applies to failure to file, there is no sanction for failure to serve. The CPR states that all parties must file and exchange budgets as required by the court order, no reference is made to serving the budget. It is clear that the sanction does not apply to failing to serve the budget.
Although the sanction does not apply to service, the rules do state that parties must exchange budgets, therefore always proceed with caution and ensure that the budgets are served. If a Costs Budget is prepared at the ‘eleventh hour’, ensure that the Budget is filed first and then served. These valuable minutes gained could avoid any arguments relating to filing the budget late.