Failure to File Costs Budget Led to Court Fees Only

This Costmas blog looks at the case of Pasricha -v- Pasricha (Rev 1) [2021] EWHC 1017 (Ch) which was a matter that involved the right to occupy a property.

The parties were ordered to file Cost Budgets not later than 7 days before a CCMC, however, the Defendant failed to comply with the direction and as such were limited to incurred Court Fees as per CPR 3.14.

The case proceeded however, on the day of the Trial, there was no judicial availability and therefore the Trial was adjourned. The Defendant thereafter made an Application for the costs of the adjournment.

However, the Judge concluded that the appropriate Order should be “no order as to costs” due to the fact the Defendant had been restricted to Court Fees only as a result of their failure to file a cost budget – the Defendant appealed this decision.

Justice Smith considered the appeal and assessed the relationship between CPR 3.14 (failing to file Costs Budget – Court fees only) and 3.18(b) (costs on standard basis and good reason to depart) specifically in relation to whether the authority existed to depart from the Court Fees only Costs Budget and concluded the following;

"So it seems to me that viewed both in combination and separately, CPR 3.14 and CPR 3.18 do provide an ability in a judge to make a Costs Order of the sort that was sought by the Appellant in this case and, to the extent that the Judge considered that he was unable to make such an order, I consider that he erred.

Not withstanding the conclusion drawn, Justice Smith concluded that the fact there was no judicial availability it was wrong to cause any party to pay the others costs and therefore “no order as to costs” was the correct order to make.

Conclusion

This case is interesting on two levels, firstly, it is an example of the Courts enforcing CPR 3.14 and limiting a party to Court Fees. More interestingly, it reached the hypothetical conclusion that it was possible for the Court to deviate from the Court Fee only budget to allow for specific costs if it amounted to “good reason” to depart.

For the full case please see here.

If you have any questions regarding this summary case law please contact Karl Robson here

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