Henry v News Group Newspapers Ltd. [2013] EWCA Civ 19

Key areas: costs budgets; Court of Appeal

This was an appeal against an Order by a Costs Judge concerning Costs Budgets in a libel claim.  The Budget had been prepared under the Defamation Pilot Practice Direction 51D.

The Claimant had exceeded her budget by £268,832 and the extra costs had been disallowed, as had a success fee.

At the first CMC the parties had to give budgets, both of which were approved.  Neither party sought to get theirs increased.

At first instance the Judge held that the costs were reasonable and proportionate, but that there was no good reason to exceed the budget, and that she had not complied with para. 5.5 of the PD to alert the Defendant.

However, on appeal it was held that this was simply a factor to take into account, and that the Defendant and Court was also at fault.

In the circumstances, the Court held that there were good reasons to exceed the budget and so the appeal was allowed.

The Court also noted that the proposed Rules in Multi-Track cases differed from those in the Defamation Pilot, including for the Court to take greater control of the budgeting process and costs.

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