A new Precedent R costs budget discussion report form had been produced that will come into force from 25 April 2019 (last page here).
In terms of changes to the current version:
- The form now includes incurred costs. This may, in part, have been to avoid confusion as to what figures were meant to be inserted into the “Claimed” column. I suspect the main reason was to emphasis that the court is meant to take into account incurred costs when considering the reasonableness and proportionality of all budgeted costs (as per PD 3E para.7.4).
- I am somewhat struggling to understand the final thee columns on the form. Column K is presumably for the judge to insert the total that is being allowed for future budgeted costs. Columns L and M appear to be designed, in part, for the judge to insert comments on the costs claimed/allowed. This certainly makes sense in relation to commenting on incurred costs and is precisely what PD3E para.7.4 envisages. It can also be very helpful if a judge makes comments on the reasoning behind the estimated costs allowed. At detailed assessment, comments on the reasoning behind the figures allowed can greatly assist when determining whether there is a good reason for departing upwards or downwards from the budget. However, columns L and K are split between “Time (hours)” and “Disbursements”. This appears to run the risk of encouraging judges to focus on the “constituent elements” of the budget rather than, as per PD3E para.7.3, the “total figures for budgeted costs of each phase of the proceedings”.
- The “summary” box at the bottom of the form refers to “Post CCMC costs summary”. This appears to predicated on the basis that the costs of the actual CCMC will be included under “Incurred costs”. This may help solve the problem of where to include the CMC/CCMC work within Precedent H. At the time the budget is completed this work (or at least the majority) will be estimated but by the time the budgets are actually approved will have been work that has been completed (and thus incurred). Hopefully, the Guidance Notes to Precedent H will be updated to clarify this.