So by now you should have read that Mr Mitchell’s solicitors have to pursue the case and will only be able to recover the court fees for anything covered by their costs budget. What about costs not expected? All is not lost as costs of applications can be summarily assessed in addition.
Will the decision of the Court of Appeal help? Hopefully! Rules are rules. At a recent hearing, a. Defendant who had not filed papers in a timely manner were ordered to attend but sit in silence as a result of their inability to meet court deadlines.
Will the outcome of Mitchell be repeated? Not if budgeting is not adopted wholesale by all local DJs. A number of judges either put the issue off until detailed assessment, or don’t deal with it at all! As it is supposed to be a costs managing step, one DJ has already had two hearings as he was not ready to deal with it at the first CMC over the telephone and then ordered a personal attendance. But are the rules not clear that Costs Management Conferences should be dealt with by telephone? Clearly not.
Then, the issue of agreeing the budget arises. How can these be agreed when the defendant senior fraud partner states that ‘this matter is capable of being dealt with by a grade C, pre-action costs are too high, not allowed medical evidence but they are. Costs of £70k are too high’ etc but there’s of £70k are fine! Sort that out in a hearing of one hour before the aforementioned dj who doesn’t want to deal with a 1 hour case and chooses to send it off for detailed assessment which would traditionally take a day. Oh I forgot – it will be a provisional assessment dealt with in 30 minutes.
In case you are thinking I’m in a bad mood, don’t worry – I’ve had a great week and caught a great school’s rugby match. The future’s bright. Lots of work most of which created by all the rule changes, issues resolved and moving on next year to a new position.
Experienced costs practitioners are a rare commodity so choose the best! Try one unbeaten at court in 2013.