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Costs budgeting versus detailed assessment

The appeal decision in Merrix provides certainty on costs management and a strong argument against fixed costs, writes Francis Kendall

11 April 2017

Even those charged with policing the Civil Procedure Rules cannot agree whether costs budgeting fetters the powers and discretion of the costs judge at a detailed assessment.

A report late last year from the sub-committee charged with updating the CPR following last year’s Court of Appeal ruling in Sarpd Oil raised the question, which has been exciting debate since the autumn.

It said: ‘On the one hand, there is a view… that, if costs are claimed at or below the figure approved or agreed for that phase of the budget, then they should be assessed as claimed without further consideration. The budget fixes the amount of costs recoverable and the costs can only be reduced if the defendant paying party satisfies an evidential burden that there is good reason to depart from the figure in the budget.

‘There is a contra...

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