12 May 2022

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News in brief: Budgeting, CPD, GEHC decision

Judge decides not to ditch budgeting - yet, CPD advice for Costs Lawyers, Supreme Court refuses permission for GEHC appeal

Costs of application to dispense with budgeting discouraged judge from doing so

A High Court judge has indicated that the costs of an application to dispense with costs budgeting discouraged him from granting it.

In Genius Sports Technologies Ltd & Ors v Soft Construct (Malta) & Ors [2022] EWHC 1067 (Ch), Mr Justice Marcus Smith said he had on a previous occasion expressed “a purely provisional view that, given the somewhat unusual nature of these proceedings – they are for various reasons (unnecessary to set out) extremely complex – costs budgeting might be more trouble than it was worth”.

However, he changed his mind, largely as a result of this application and another on the costs of an aborted strike-out hearing. This would allow the court to consider whether to make a costs management order and/or a costs-capping order.

Marcus Smith J expressed concern at the level of costs the applications generated – the claimants sought nearly £110,000 for the budgeting application and £70,000 for the costs application; the defendants’ costs for the former were unavailable and £38,000 for the latter. What was meant to be a three-hour hearing for the two turned into a full day plus pre-reading and writing the reserved judgment.

“These figures speak for themselves: and I will therefore say no more, save that they informed my thinking on the costs budgeting application and the value of ex ante cost control.”

CLSB highlights lessons from annual CPD audit

The Costs Lawyer Standards Board has published lessons from the audit of 2021 CPD records, the first undertaken under the new CPD rules that came into effect on 1 January 2021.

They fall under five headlines: plan your CPD at the start of the practising year; keep written records of CPD planning, objectives, activity and evaluation; be specific in setting CPD objectives (“Keeping up-to-date” is not enough); keep evidence of CPD activities undertaken; and stay in touch if you are audited by the CLSB.

Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal GEHC ruling

The Supreme Court has refused permission to appeal the decision in Global Energy Horizons Corporation v Gray [2021] EWCA Civ 123, in which the Court of Appeal overturned a decision by Mr Justice Arnold to make no order for costs in a case where he said "the overall result was that both parties lost heavily", meaning it was “a score draw”.

The appeal court said a party defending an “exorbitant” claim where they could end up being ordered to pay a much smaller amount should protect themselves with a part 36 offer.

The Supreme Court said the application for permission did not raise “an arguable point of law”.