So here we have it. The 104th Update – Practice Direction Amendments is upon us.
We have all heard about the proposed new style N260 Statements of Costs and within weeks of the 2 year pilot scheme going live (1 April 2019), we are finally given the opportunity to pour over the new documents and pass judgement.
As the title refers, there are two new versions of the N260, A & B, and put quite simply, N260(A) is for use in summary assessments of costs on interim applications and N260(B) is for use at Trial.
The differences between the two are that the Trial N260(B) is split into phases and rather importantly, “In any case which has been the subject of a costs management order, any party filing form N260B for summary assessment in accordance with Practice Direction 44 paragraph 9.5(4) must also file and serve form Precedent Q at the same time.” It is argued that this will create transparency at the summary assessment stage regarding the costs actually incurred as against the approved budgeted amounts.
This does also beg the question of where a case has not been costs managed, is there still a requirement to break the costs into relevant phases? This is not addressed in this update, but then again, we have already been facing this same issue on Multi Track allocated cases which have not been costs managed, but the electronic Bill of Costs format is still required. In both instances, the format dictates the manner in which the costs must be presented.
The use of either Statement of Costs is not compulsory during the pilot scheme so it will be interesting to see the numbers taking these up. Having said that, assuming this will be a successful pilot, the new formats will become mandatory after 31 March 2021 so this is perhaps an opportunity not to miss.
We are prepared. Are you?
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