WHAT IS MEANT BY A “SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT”? AMENDING THE COSTS BUDGET WHEN CLAIM DOUBLES IN SIZE: CLAIMANT GETS THE BOOT

I am grateful to barrister Colm Nugent for his notes of the decision of Mr Justice Picken in Churchill -v- Boot (22/04/2016) in relation to costs budgeting (a summary of this case is also available on Lawtel).

KEY POINTS

  • A costs budget in a personal injury claim had been approved in 2014.
  • The claim had doubled in size since the costs budget, the trial had been delayed and there had been additional disclosure.
  • The claimant applied to vary the costs budget.
  • The Master refused to vary the costs budget as there had not been a change in circumstances.
  • The claimant appealed to the judge.

THE RULE: CPR PD 3E 7.6: THE NEED FOR SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS

7.6 Each party shall revise its budget in respect of future costs upwards or downwards, if significant developments in the litigation warrant such revisions. Such amended budgets shall be submitted to the other parties for agreement. In default of agreement, the amended budgets shall be submitted to the court, together with a note of (a) the changes made and the reasons for those changes and (b) the objections of any other party. The court may approve, vary or disapprove the revisions, having regard to any significant developments which have occurred since the date when the previous budget was approved or agreed.

ON APPEAL

The judge held:-

  • He was not satisfied that there had been significant developments
  • The increased value of the claim did not mean that there would be higher costs. The parties already had permission to call the relevant experts.
  • The additional disclosure was clearly foreseeable when the costs budget was set.
  • An adjournment could potentially be a significant development. However on the facts of this case it was not.
  • The master had exercised his discretion appropriately there were no grounds to interfere with the exercise of that discretion.

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