Five Gold Rings!

I have been preparing budgets for over 5 years, during the pilot scheme and onwards. I have prepared budgets in all areas of law and I have drafted well in excess of 1,000 budgets, so I would like to share with you my 5 Gold Rings!

  1. File your budget well in advance of the hearing, this allows parties to negotiate properly.
  2. Mutual exchange.  Agreeing to mutually exchange the budgets may be beneficial, it may assist your case if neither party is aware of the opponent’s budget. This may help strategically and stop parties adapting their budget, following consideration of the opponent’s budget.
  3. Only include foreseeable contingent costs, the rules are clear regarding this. Do not include every eventuality, consider how you think your case will proceed and only include the relevant contingencies.
  4. Filing v service. This is a cute point. The court sanction only relates to failing to file rather than failing to serve. If you are experiencing a tight deadline then file your budget first rather than serve. Obviously I am not condoning a lackadaisical approach to service, however it is something to bear in mind if time is of the essence.
  5. The rules provide for downward revisions of budgets. This is a good point to remember. Defendants often consider budgeting to be a waste of time, simply a box ticking exercise, this is usually defendant insurers or defendants that will be subject to QOCS. However, if there are material changes to the case, then it may be appropriate to seek a revision downwards. This is a good tactic for the defendant because it may reduce their costs liability – so defendants, please do not ignore the budgets.

Failing to serve the Precedent H Costs Budget

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.

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