The amendment to the Statement of Truth, required to be appended to Precedent H costs budgets has been put back from 6 April, to 22 April.
The new Statement of Truth places less of a burden on those signing budgets with the words;
“This budget is a fair and accurate statement of incurred and estimated costs which it would be reasonable and proportionate for my client to incur in this litigation”
This, replacing the old;
“The costs stated to have been incurred do not exceed the costs which my client is liable to pay in respect of such work. The future costs stated in this budget are a proper estimate of the reasonable and proportionate costs which my client will incur in this litigation”
…which gave an arguable certification as to the indemnity principle.
This means that where cases settle very closely after budgets have been filed (and before they have been agreed or approved) there is a widening of the link between the incurred costs element of the budget and the costs claimed in any subsequent Bill of Costs, although it is clearly still going to be a factor a Court will consider (and a paying party will ask them to) in any Detailed Assessment.
The new softer statement appears linked to the recent decision of Mr Justice Stuart-Smith in Bank of Ireland –v- Philip Pank where he gave short shrift to the Defendant’s application to strike out the budget of the Claimant pursuant to CPR3.14 on the basis of an erroneously incorrect statement of truth on the budget as filed. Taking caution in his judgement to state the importance of the Statement of Truth, and doff his cap to the new stricter “Singaporean” approach to relief from sanctions post Jackson he nonetheless concluded his judgement with 2 final paragraphs and a withering final sentence which gave a distinct impression of opprobrium for those making opportunistic applications seeking substantial sanctions on the basis of minor technical errors, and foreshadowed a change to the Statement of Truth itself.
About The Author
Paul Kay is head of budgeting at R Costings; with more than 10 years experience dealing with Legal Costs, both in-house (having previously worked for a firm of solicitors ranked No. 1 in the Legal 500 for Personal Injury) and for independent costs drafting firms. He is experienced in dealing with high value catastrophic injury and clinical negligence claims involving complex issues.
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