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Need relief from sanctions – all depends who hears your application on the day!

Ashgar v Bhatti [2017] EWHC 1702 (QB). Lewis J.

A claimant whose costs going forward had  been limited to applicable court fees under CPR  3.14 for failure to serve a budget, was  permitted to recover costs  when the trial was lengthened by six days, Lewis J held . Applicable court fees only applied to the first six days. The other party argued that that would be to undermine the order limiting the budgeted costs to applicable court fees, but Lewis J held that there had been a “significant development” in the case, so the limitation did not apply to the second six days.

Intellmedia Systems Ltd v Ricard 1 February 2017 Warren J (unreported).

Transcript not yet available. The claimant’s solicitor had been ill and the defendant had been notified that the budget would be served late. The judge said that the solicitor should have delegated the work within the office or sent the client elsewhere. Nonetheless, relief from sanctions granted with the claimant to pay the costs of the application on the indemnity basis

Mott v Long [2017] EWHC 2130 (TCC) HHJ Grant. Budget 10 days late due to “IT difficulties …” following “…implementation of new printing systems” and “…..issues around the system crashing during the course of working on documents…”. Whilst the default was serious and there was no” good reason” for it, in considering all the circumstances, it was relevant that the process of costs budgeting would not have been completed on the day set aside for it. A revised costs budget for the defendant would have been needed and the parties were in exactly the same procedural position in which they would have been had the defendants served their budget in time. Relief granted.

Hewitt v Smith 16 June 2017 HHJ Gosnell Bradford County Court (unreported) ***.

Costs Budget filed two months late., but eight days before the hearing. At the hearing before the District Judge, the judge had not explored with either party whether he could still deal with costs management even though the appellant was technically in breach. As budgets had been exchanged eight days before the hearing, it could be presumed that the parties had been ready to deal with the issue as there had been some discussions and the budgets had not been particularly lengthy or complex. No prejudice had been advanced as having been caused by the delay. This was an opportunist objection and there had  been no reason why the court could not have dealt with costs management at the hearing, even though the budget had been late. Fairness demanded that relief from sanctions being given.

Freeborn v Marcal [2017] EWHC 3046 (TCC) Coulson J. The court (TCC) wrote to the parties indicating that budgets should be filed 7 days before the CMC whereas CPR 13.3 provides for 21 days unless the court “otherwise orders”. Held- the letter was an order “ordering otherwise”. Accordingly, the defendant who had complied with the letter rather than the CPR 13.3 time limit, did not need relief from sanctions and the claimants were ordered to pay the costs of opposing their application.

But one day late…..

Lakhani v Mahmud [2017] 4 Costs LO 453. Daniel Alexander QC.  Relief from sanctions refused where the defendants had been one day late in serving their updated costs budget. The court had ordered the budgets to be served 21 days before a costs and case management hearing.  C had served his budget on 19 December 2016 with the Ds doing so the following day. That was one day late meaning that the bulk of the budgeting hearing was taken up with relief from sanctions, so a further budgeting hearing would be needed thereby wasting valuable court resources. Ds’ updated budgeted costs limited to applicable court fees.

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