Costs and compliance update: Jackson in practice

The Jackson reforms aim to streamline the civil litigation process and to promote proportionality and efficiency in the resolution of disputes. The reforms seek to achieve this through effective costs management and budgeting and through strict compliance with case management directions. A number of recent cases in the key areas of costs and compliance begin to provide valuable guidance, for solicitors and clients alike, as to how post-Jackson civil procedure should work in practice.

The case of Elvanite Full Circle Ltd v AMEC Earth & Environmental (UK) Ltd is a clear example of the court adopting a strict, no-nonsense approach to costs budgeting. In that case, the successful defendant sought to amend its approved costs budget post trial and was given short shrift. The defendant’s costs budget was originally approved by the court at approximately £270,000, including some £30,500 estimated expert’s fees. In reliance on that budget (and of some relevance to the judge’s reasoning), the claimant had obtained ATE insurance cover to the limit of £250,000. Shortly before trial, the defendant filed an increased costs budget, this time of around £500,000 and including £200,000 of expert’s fees, although it did not make a formal application to amend its budget. When the defendant finally did make a formal application to amend its budget after it had won the case, its application was refused…

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