FAILING TO FILE A COST BUDGET AND REFUSAL TO GRANT RELIEF FROM SANCTIONS: A HARSH LESSON

If a litigation solicitor is ever given the job of designing wallpaper here are the three key things that should form the recurring motif.

  1. The costs budget is due 21 days before the first case management conference.

  2. Where the claim is under £50,000 the costs budget has to be filed with the directions questionnaires.

  3. If in doubt  don’t guess find out and serve and file it at the earliest opportunity.

If anyone thinks this is an over-reaction then read the case of Jamadar -v- Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust* CA 21/7/2016.

FAILING TO FILE A COSTS BUDGET: NO RELIEF FROM SANCTIONS

  • The claimant brought a claim for £3 million for medical negligence.
  • The court sent out a notice in form N149C stating that it appeared to be suitable for allocation to the multi-track.
  • The defendant admitted liability and the judge revoked the form N149C and entered judgment against the defendant.
  • The parties received notice of the case management conference.
  • The defendant served its costs budget (which under the rules at that time had to be filed at least 7 days before the CMC). The claimant did not file a budget.
  • The district judge held that the claimant’s budget was confined to court fees.
  • The claimant applied for relief from sanctions. That application was refused by the district judge and an appeal to the circuit judge failed.
  • The Court of Appeal upheld that decision.
  • At every level the courts held that the order revoking the form N149C did not take the matter outside the multi track.
  • The fact that the case was quantum only did not take it out of the costs management regime.
  • The Court of Appeal held that the district judge and circuit judge had properly exercised their discretion.

SO THERE WE HAVE IT: A £3 MILLION CLAIM WHERE THE CLAIMANT’S SOLICITORS WERE WORKING FOR NOTHING

Further, any disbursements on medical reports etc. would (in effect) be paid for by the claimant’s solicitors

*This is based on the Lawtel Summary.

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