Coronavirus has changed the world as we know it but have you considered how it might have changed your case and the resulting impact of this on your approved cost budget?
We appreciate that you are extremely busy at this time not only managing financial pressures but also the challenges of adjusting to remote working and dealing with staff members being on furlough, not to mention the personal challenges the pandemic has created for us all.
We can therefore fully appreciate that your attention may not be on considering whether your cost budget requires a revision, however, we would urge you to take a moment to consider this. What is the point in working so hard if you will ultimately not get paid for your efforts?
Has the pandemic impacted upon your case? A party may revise their budget either upwards or downwards if there has been a “significant development” in the litigation. Whilst ordinarily a simple slippage in the timetable would not necessarily amount to a “significant development” however, if Covid-19 has caused delays in your case it is worth considering the impact of this. Has the Trial window been lost or the Trial vacated? Has there been so much passage of time that you require a report to be updated which wasn’t accounted for in the directions? Or has your Trial proceeded albeit remotely? If your budget was approved on the assumption Trial would take place in person and it is now proceeding remotely, will Trial take longer and are there additional costs which the original budget did not account for?
Now more than ever it is important to ensure that you keep a close eye on your budgets as the changes due to be made to CPR 3 and Practice Direction 3E on 1 October 2020 make it a requirement that the particulars of any variation to a cost budget must be made promptly. Furthermore, it will no longer be possible for the parties to agree revisions to budgets between themselves, revised budgets will need to be submitted to Court for approval. A failure to submit your revised budget to the Court promptly may therefore result in your request for revisions being declined.
The Statutory Instrument introducing the changes to CPR 3 can be accessed here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/747/article/4/made with the Practice Making document introducing changes to CPD 3E being accessed here: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/pdf/update/cpr-122-pd-update.pdf.
Whilst these changes do not come into effect until 1 October, we anticipate the Courts are likely to apply the proposed rules going forwards. Therefore, if you do feel the course of your case has changed such that you require a review of your budget please feel free to get in touch with us. We are cost specialists with a wealth of experience in revising cost budgets and can take this task on leaving you free to focus on actually running your cases.