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PI and Civil Litigation

Law - practice - procedure

Anthony Gold Solicitors , 12 JUN 2014

Costs budgets – delay – relief from sanctions – Wain v (1) Gloucestershire County Council (2) Atkins (3) Gloucestershire Highways (4) Teasdale [2014] EWHC 1274 (TCC)

Costs budgets – delay – relief from sanctions – Wain v (1) Gloucestershire County Council (2) Atkins (3) Gloucestershire Highways (4) Teasdale [2014] EWHC 1274 (TCC)
High Court. Technology and Construction Court

2 April 2014

Judge David Grant

Summary

At the first CMC the claimant unsuccessfully applied to have the fourth defendant’s costs budget struck out because it had been filed 6 days and not 7 days before the hearing.

Detail

The substantive case concerned the activities of the various defendants before flooding at the claimant’s property.

The case came before the court on 4 February 2014 where the parties attended for the first case management conference. It was anticipated that on this occasion the judge would consider the costs budgets of each party.

The claimant, having noted that the fourth defendant filed their budget one day late, made an oral application to have the costs budget struck out.

In accordance with Mitchell v News Group Newspaper Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1537, [2014] 1 WLR. 795, the claimant sought to argue that the breach was not trivial and that the fourth defendant had given no good reason as to why the budget was filed a day late.

In dismissing the application the judge held that the delay did not prejudice the claimant, did not disrupt the court timetable and was in fact trivial.

Comment

The issue of relief from sanctions under the Jackson regime has gained widespread interest in recent months. The above decision is good news for practitioners and an indication that things are beginning to settle down following the earlier hard-line approach taken by the courts. Where breaches prejudice the other side in proceedings or disrupt the timetable moving forward, relief will be harder to come by. However, where there are minor breaches of form rather than substance one can expect a common sense approach to prevail.

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