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Elvanite Full Circle Ltd. v Amec Earth & Environmental (UK) Ltd. [2013] EWHC 1643 (TCC)

Key areas: costs budgets; Basis of assessment; High Court

This was a claim for the Defendant’s costs resulting from a successful defence and counter-claim for £4,630.62.

The parties had submitted costs budgets under the TCC Pilot Scheme: the Claimant for £317,333.25 and the Defendant’s of £264,708.  The Claimant’s budget included the claim for an ATE premium that indemnified them for up to £250,000.

One month before the trial, the Defendant provided an updated budget of £531,946.18.  The Claimant objected to it, but increased its own budget to £372,179.53.  Neither party applied to increase the budgets.

On 19th February the Defendant offered to settle the claim for £150,000 including costs, which was rejected.

Given the rejection, the Defendant applied for Indemnity Basis costs.  This was rejected because the Court considered that the Claimant’s matters were arguable, and because their conduct was not disproportionate.  Therefore, costs were awarded on the Standard Basis.

The Court then turned to the issue over the Defendant exceeding its budget.

The Defendant submitted that they did not have to do anything other than serve an updated budget.  The Claimant submitted that an application was required, which would then need to be approved.  The Court agreed with the Claimant, and stated that it would suffer greater prejudice should the budget be updated after trial, given the difference between its ATE policy and the total costs.  it also held that there was no “good reason” for departing from the budget.

The Court did award the Defendant £250,000 on account of costs.

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