Preparation of the Precedent H… Simples!

Or not as the case is regularly proving to be!

Precedent H should come with a cautionary warning it is difficult to use and contains fundamental errors which make it almost useless:

• Unworkable formulas which lead to incorrect sums being applied
• Text in the budget is difficult to read and not user friendly when printed
• Insufficient room to detail the supportive assumptions which has led to some firms resorting to using an amalgamation of Precedent H and Precedent HB or filing separate supplementary documents alongside their budgets
• Adding rows and columns to meet case specific requirements is problematic
• Statement of Truth omitted (despite this being prescribed by the rules)

The budget needs to be properly considered and prepared with both attention to detail and a cautionary attitude to ensure it is both accurate and a true reflection of the costs that are likely to be incurred. Henry v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 19 has already served as an early battleground as to what will happen when a party exceeds the approved budget but still expects to recover the exceeded costs.

In addition, the Courts have already indicated that they will not tolerate ill-prepared budgets and they will not allow parties to have a ‘second bite of the cherry’ in order to correct mistakes or rectify costs that have simply been omitted or missed off as demonstrated in Murray and Stokes v Neil Dowlman Architecture Limited [2013] EWHC 872 (TCC) and Elvanite Full Circle Ltd v AMEC Earth and Environmental (UK) Ltd [2013] EWHC 1643.

Perhaps the Courts are cottoning on to these frustrations as they themselves have made additional orders in some cases requiring further information to assist them in their understanding of the Parties’ Precedent H’s. In particular, we have experienced orders requiring the parties to file composite summaries of the proposed budgets and individual breakdowns of costs already incurred.

Despite, a revised Precedent H being released in the October 2013 supplement, and a new statement of truth in April 2014,  fundamental errors remain.

What do we want … A new Precedent H! Will we get one… probably not!?