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Changes ahead for costs budgeting

Steve Davies advises practitioners to be mindful of budgets as the courts are increasingly willing to penalise parties by disallowing items and restricting future costs

9 February 2016

We now have much more clarity on what we can expect from costs budgeting than we have had previously. Unfortunately,
it is generally a stark message
to solicitors, perhaps most succinctly phrased by Mr Justice Leggatt in Kazakhstan Kagazy Plc v Zhunus [2015] EWHC 404 (Comm): 'The touchstone is not the amount of costs which it was in a party's best interests to incur but the lowest amount which it could reasonably have been expected to spend in order to have its case conducted and presented proficiently.'

There have been several
cases where costs budgets have been subject to considerable reduction. In Stocker v Stocker [2015] EWHC 1634 (QB), over £250,000 (almost half of the claimed future costs) - proportionality was a key consideration in
this case.

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