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Costs Estimates

25 April 2006

In an article that appeared in the 13 April 2006 edition of the Law Gazette, a leading costs expert warned that a clampdown on the accuracy of costs estimates is being driven from the senior judiciary downwards.

Mark Harvey, a partner at Huge James in Cardiff, spoke at the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers' annual conference. He said costs claims that are over one-fifth of a firms original estimate are at risk of being "unreasonable" or "disproportionate" by the courts, and that costs which exceed estimates by more than 20% may not be paid if a firms fails to provide a "satisfactory explanation" for the increase, under Civil Procedure Rules introduced last year.

Mr. Harvey also said: "The senior judiciary have made it clear they are going to look very carefully at estimates". Which is thought not to be happening at the moment.

He added: "Cost estimates are here to stay, and they are going to bite at case management level and at detailed assessment level. You have been warned."

Upon reading this article Malcolm Goodwin, who has conducted seminars on this very issue, commented, "For a number of years solicitors have been required to give the best possible costs information to their clients and have to provide an adequate explanation if that information is inaccurate. It is clear that the judiciary believe it fair that a paying party should be provided with the same level of information and protection."