A mathematical error in the calculation of a costs budget would not have occurred had the parties complied with the relevant practice direction, the High Court has found.
According to the report of Broom and Anor v Archer and Ors on Lawtel, the claimants applied to amend their costs budget in a claim against the defendants for inadequate building works.
After the pre-trial review, it came to light that the court-approved costs budget for £766,000 contained a mathematical error.
The claimants submitted that there had been significant developments to their case which meant that the budgeting for expert costs had to be revised in any event, and that the correct figure taking into account the mathematical error should be £840,580.
Mr Justice Fraser was reported to have attributed part of the problem to the parties’ failure to comply with PD 3E. “After the court had approved the costs budget, the parties had extracted the totals and placed them in a table in the order. However, PD 3E on costs management required each party to re-file and re-serve the budget in the form approved or agreed with re-cast figures, annexing it to the order approving the budgeted costs.
“Had the PD been complied with, the error would have been brought to the parties’ attention earlier. The mathematical error should not have occurred. Although it was a human error, such errors were a drain on judicial resources and could have been dealt with without a hearing.”
However, amendments to the pleadings by the first defendant meant the claimants’ pleadings also needed to be significantly changed. The judge said this amounted to a significant development in the claimants’ case, which under PD 3E 7.6 allowed a party to revise its budget.
Another such development was the need to consider a number of complex, alternative remedial schemes. As a result, the court approved the revised costs budget.
Michael Wheater (instructed by Keystone Law) represented the claimants. Simon Henderson (instructed by DWF) was for the first defendant, with Ben Quiney QC (instructed by BLM) for the second.