At a time when the success of costs management, or lack of it, is under scrutiny with plans to extend fixed recoverable costs, the ACL said the research highlighted how it has failed to change behaviours as was hoped.
The survey of 117 costs lawyers found that 72% said solicitors “sometimes” went over their budgets, while 22% said this always happened.
If the members of the ACL (Association of Cost Lawyers) are correct, and as the writer is also a member of that organisation I would suggest that they usually are; this article makes grim reading for lawyers hoping to recover costs between the parties. Practitioners should now be familiar with CPR 3.18, and the “…good reason to depart…” test. It is more essential than ever for practitioners to prepare their Form H costs budgets with as much accuracy as possible. That means instructing and engaging Costs Lawyers fully and correctly. It is also essential that the budget is supported by a competent Costs Lawyer or Counsel / Solicitor at the CCMC. Perhaps most important of all, is that having drafted an accurate budget that then suffers from unforeseen elements to the litigation which makes it inaccurate; it must be amended accordingly at the first case management opportunity or by discreet application.Otherwise, the best that is likely to happen is that legal work will go unremunerated. Worse still, is the prospect of a negligence claim and a disgruntled client who won’t come back.