Costs budgeting and CAT claims proceeding at Manchester Civil Justice Centre

  • 26/06/2014

Following a query received, District Judges Hassall and Iyer would remind practitioners that CPR 3.13 provides:

“Unless the court otherwise orders, all parties except litigants in person must file and exchange budgets as required by the rules or as the court otherwise directs. Each party must do so by the date specified in the notice served under rule 26.3(1) or, if no such date is specified, seven days before the first case management conference.”

Although each claim is considered on a case-by-case basis, in Cancer, Asbestos & Terminal Illness (‘CAT’) claims issued at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre District Judges Hassall and Iyer often consider the court file prior to the preparation and service of any notice by the court office under rule 26.3(1) and give directions that include dispensing with directions questionnaires and the listing of a First CMC and a subsequent Costs CMC. Such orders typically refer expressly to CPR 3.13 and direct that the parties shall not be required to file costs budgets prior to the First CMC but are required to file them by seven days before the Costs CMC.

Practitioners are reminded however that CPR 3.13 remains in force unless and until such a direction is given in each individual case.

It follows that in some cases (for example, those that are issued in other courts or via the County Court Civil Business Centre in Salford) the obligation to file and exchange costs budgets may arise before any such direction has been made – even perhaps before the file is transferred to Manchester CJC. In those circumstances the file is likely to have reached this court following directions questionnaires and the issue of a rule 26.3(1) notice, the time for compliance with which will by definition already have elapsed.

Furthermore, in any case issued at Manchester CJC the obligation to file and exchange costs budgets could arise before an order is made – if, for example, a notice is served by the court office under rule 26.3(1). In this circumstance parties are reminded of the facility to put the matter before one of the District Judges before any time limits elapse by sending an immediate application by email to the specialist CAT address and our personal addresses.

It remains the responsibility of practitioners in each case to consider the application of the Civil Procedure Rules to costs budgeting in that case and, in particular, when the obligation to file and exchange budgets first arises.

District Judge Hassall

District Judge Iyer

26th June 2014