News in brief – 30.08.2018

Time to take the chair

With Iain Stark’s term of office as ACL chairman due to end in May 2019, nominations are being sought for the position of chair-elect to gain experience of working with him and the Council prior to taking up the role.

Any full member may nominate themselves for the role by completing and returning the form sent out by email earlier this month. If more than one application is received, nominees will be required to submit a CV of no more than three pages together with a supporting statement of no more than 1,000 words, after which a ballot of members will take place.

The closing date for nominations is Monday 3 September 2018. Email enquiries@costslawyer.co.uk with any questions.

 

Beware spam ACL emails

A few members have reported receiving a spam email headed ‘Invoice’ that purports to be from ACL head of operations Diane Pattenden. Members are reminded that any email sent from ACL or ACL Training will include a footer with the logo and full contact/registration details. You should not open any attachments unless sure the email is from the ACL.

 

Interim payment ordered on unbudgeted costs

A company was permitted to receive an interim payment on account of no more than 50% of its total costs claimed where it had substantially exceeded its costs budget, as it was likely to establish that it had good reason to depart from the costs budget, the High Court has ruled.

According to a Lawtel report of A v B, decided by Mr Justice Arnold on 25 July, the defendant company applied for an interim payment on account from the claimant companies in respect of unbudgeted costs.

The parties had agreed that, in respect of the defendant’s headline figure in its costs budget, it should receive an interim payment of 90%. In respect of its unbudgeted costs, the defendant sought an interim of payment of 60%. It had exceeded its costs budget in respect of four items totalling £500,000, but argued that there were good reasons for its departure from the costs budget.

The case of MacInnes v Gross [2017] EWHC 127 (QB) said the starting point was that there should not be an interim payment on account of costs in respect of unbudgeted costs, the judge said.

The Lawtel report continued: “The two main items that substantially exceeded the costs budget were disclosure and a witness statement. The defendant had given a full explanation as to why all the items had exceeded the costs budget. It was for a costs judge to go through that explanation in detail.

“However, the defendant was likely to establish that it had good reason to depart from the costs budget, its explanations on disclosure and the witness statement being good examples of that. The court, however, had to be cautious of the amount the defendant was likely to recover, as the excess costs were very substantial. A reasonable sum would not exceed more than 50% of the total claimed.”

Simon Malynicz QC and Andrew Lomas represented the claimants, and Charlotte May QC and Jaani Riordan the defendants.

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Costs News
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30 Aug 2018

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