We now have some guidance regarding the approach which the Court may adopt regarding appealing the amount of an approved Costs Budget.
In Havenga –v- Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC B25 (QB), the Court found that it was ‘not the role of the appellate Court to tinker with Costs Budgets’ and ‘the role of the appellate Court, in these circumstances, is to decide whether the Budget as revised by the District Judge was reasonable and proportionate. Only if I conclude that the revised Budget was outwith what can be described as reasonable and proportionate and that, therefore, the District Judge had exceeded his wide ambit of discretion can I interfere with the overall Budget’.
Although the Judge did feel that he may have been more generous in some areas of the Budget, he considered that as a whole, the Budget was both reasonable and proportionate and the appeal was dismissed.
Perhaps this approach will avoid unnecessary and unreasonable requests for appeals and will ensure a cost effective and pragmatic approach to Costs Budgeting, or will it result in increased costs? This may encourage more Lawyers to have both Counsel and the Costs Lawyer at the costs management hearing, so that any risk of comprehensive arguments not being made is avoided.