01.08.2013Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd.  EWHC 2355 (QB)
Key areas: costs budgets; relief from sanction; High Court
This was an application for relief from sanctions.
The main action is a libel claim, and the parties had to submit costs budgets under PD 51D. The Claimant did not do so, and so his costs were limited to Court fees only.
The Court stated that under the new CPR, cases must now also be dealt with in a way that is “at proportionate cost and so as to ensure compliance with rules, orders and practice directions”.
It noted that the Claimant had failed “to engage in discussion of budget assumptions when asked”, and did not ask the Court for extensions of time to file the document.
The Claimant’s solicitors stated that they were a small firm, and had little capacity at the time, while the Defendant was represented by a large firm, and had instructed an external costs firm to prepare its own budget. However the Court said that this was not sufficient to prevent the sanctions. It also noted that there was no prejudice to the Claimant because his solicitors acted under a CFA.
Overall, the application was dismissed. However, the Court did grant permission to appeal on the basis that there was no previous authority on the matter.
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