Agreed costs budgets can be amended with the approval by your opponent and the court; however the change in litigation has to be a significant development or a good reason for the amendment. In the matter of GREIG v LAUCHLAN & ANOR (2016) the Defendant requested amendment to the agreed cost budget prior to the 10 day trial as they needed to change Counsel from a junior counsel to leading Counsel. No reason was given as to why the change was sought. This change increased the future costs considerably.
The defendant applied to vary the costs budget upwards in respect of counsel’s fees for the imminent trial of the claim. The Claimant was not in agreement to approve the same and as a result the court defendant made an application to the Court requesting approval.
Sitting in the Chancery Division Richard Millett QC did not approve the increased sum of £90,000 which was a substantial increase as there had not been a significant development in the facts of the case or good reason to do so; it was purely a change in Counsel.
Changes to approved Costs Budgets can be made but where a significant development or good reason to do so:
Practice Direction 3E Para 7.6 refers;
Each party shall revise its budget in respect of future costs upwards or downwards, if significant developments in the litigation warrant such revisions. Such amended budgets shall be submitted to the other parties for agreement. In default of agreement, the amended budgets shall be submitted to the court, together with a note of (a) the changes made and the reasons for those changes and (b) the objections of any other party. The court may approve, vary or disapprove the revisions, having regard to any significant developments which have occurred since the date when the previous budget was approved or agreed.