Precedent H to be amended in CPR update but no news yet on costs management limit

Manchester Civil Justice Centre: move to national county court

The statement of truth to be used in verifying a costs budget is to be changed, the latest update to the Civil Procedure Rules has revealed – but there is no word as yet about whether the level at which the costs management exemption kicks in will be increased.

The 69th update – which will take effect from 6 April – was published this week and amends Precedent H to replace the statement of truth as currently specified in paragraph 2.2A of practice direction 22.

It will say: “This budget is a fair and accurate statement of incurred and estimated costs which it would be reasonable and proportionate for my client to incur in this litigation.”

The current version says: “The costs stated to have been incurred do not exceed the costs which my client is liable to pay in respect of such work. The future costs stated in this budget are a proper estimate of the reasonable and proportionate costs which my client will incur in this litigation.”

Publication last month of minutes and papers from the December 2013 meeting of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee indicated that a new blanket rule is likely to be introduced that will require costs management in all cases worth less than £10m. However, there is no mention of it in the update, although there is still time for supplemental changes to be made.

A change to part 42 will allow chartered legal executives, costs lawyers, patent attorneys, and trade mark attorneys – as persons authorised to conduct litigation under the Legal Services Act 2007 – to be entered on the court record.

The update also makes provision for the creation of the single county court as legislated for in the Crime and Courts Act 2013. By removing geographical jurisdictional boundaries, the county court will sit at various locations within England and Wales in a way similar to the High Court and will have a single seal and a single identity to indicate its national jurisdiction.

The court houses in which it will convene will act as hearing centres with court administrative offices attached to them.

Among other parts amended are part 16 – providing that financial claims below £100,000 must be brought in the county court from 22 April – and part 52 so that any order refusing permission to appeal will in future indicate the court to which any further application should be made and the level of judge who should hear the application. The full list of changes can be found here.

Meanwhile, the Jackson reforms apply to the rules on setting aside a judgment entered in default as much as those areas explicitly affected, the High Court has confirmed.

In Samara v MBI & Partners UK Ltd & Anor [2014] EWHC 563 (QB), Mr Justice Silber said he did not agree with the contention that the new regime did not apply to the special rules under part 13 because there had been no trial.

Although there had been no specific reference to part 13 in the Jackson report or subsequent implementation lectures, “the new regime has universal application to all rules in the CPR”, he said. “Indeed, it is based on and underpinned by the changes to the overriding objectives which apply to all parts of the CPR.”

He continued: “There is no express statement that CPR part 13 or that any part of it is excluded from these provisions and I have found nothing in the rules or in the decided cases to show expressly or impliedly that this is so.

“Further, there is no theoretical justification from excluding this rule from the new regime and the new underlying objectives. Indeed, most importantly, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, described the effect of the new regime in very general terms and as being of universal application when giving the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Mitchell v News Group.”

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