Optimising Costs Management: Part 1

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2% Budget Process Provision

Once costs budgets are prepared, Precedent Rs and negotiations naturally follow.

Budget discussions can lead to agreement of budgets in full, allowing for the costs management hearing to be vacated altogether. However, very often only certain phases are agreed, narrowing the costs issues in contention at CMC. Whether agreed in full or in part, investing time in negotiations and strategy at this point will lead to a more beneficial outcome overall.

In addition to preparing an ordered schedule of incurred costs or a composite summary, the next step is to decide who should attend the CMC to ensure you are well positioned from a costs perspective going forward.

Precedent Rs, negotiations, breakdowns, summaries and attendance at CMC all have the potential to be captured in the 2% provision for budget process and be recovered from your opponent if successful.

The Costs Management Conference

When a great deal rests on the result of the CMC a meticulously prepared advocate should not be underestimated. A sound understanding of the case to date is also key when deciding who is best suited to make those all-important representations in respect of the budgets.

Our costs management team are well versed in CMCs the depth and breadth of the country and have extensive experience in obtaining the most advantageous scenario of approved budgets possible.  If costs specialist input is required, this is something we can provide. 

Monitoring Budgets and Avoiding Shortfall

Regular monitoring of budgeted costs not only highlights any requirement for budget revision but also provides opportunities for agreement to be reached with your clients in relation to overspend before it occurs. It is also worth noting that utilising phase, task and activity codes on your time recording system will improve efficiency in this task. It can also lead to effective legal project management of cases, which will be covered in another of these blogs.

Budget monitoring is now mandatory pursuant to CPR 3.15A and is a service offered by Clarion. As long as the 2% budget and cost management caps have not been exceeded this work can also be recovered from your opponent if you are successful. In an era where solicitor-own client costs disputes are rising, it is more important than ever to keep track of expenditure in costs managed cases.

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