I think it’s fair to say that since April and The effects of Jackson, times for Law costs draftsmen have been interesting to say the least!

You will be aware that Costs Budgeting has been at the forefront of legal news.

Despite the usual scaremongering, here at Sterling we have found ourselves increasingly busy (particularly in relation to Costs Budgeting). In every case we have found our clients had heavily underestimated the costs likely to be incurred. Clients also have been unsure as to when it is best to prepare and file Costs Budgets. There seems to be differing opinions as to whether to serve it 28 days after receipt of the Defence or as late as 7 days before the CMC. Our feeling at Sterling is that leaving things until the eleventh hour is never a good idea and we would therefore advise serving your Budgets with the Directions Questionnaire.

It seems that more than ever before our services are proving vital to our Solicitor clients. We offer what I believe to be the most favourable terms in relation to preparation of Costs Budgets, our clients being offered a no-win no fee arrangement with us.

Talking to our clients they have reported a sharp increase in settlements, more than likely due to Costs Budgets. It comes as no surprise that seeing figures in black and white will have an effect on litigants’ decisions as to whether they actually want to have their day in Court after all. I am sure this news will please both the Government and Judiciary and pats on the backs aplenty will be going on. Unfortunately those whose livelihoods rely on litigation will not be quite so pleased!

As you will be aware the saga of Andrew Mitchell -v- NGN still goes on. I remain convinced that the Appeal cannot and will not succeed. Should it succeed a Costs Budget would hold no more weight than the good old Costs Estimate. Having said that, in my opinion, the idea of losing all of your costs (barring the Court fee) has always been a tad ridiculous but the rules are the rules.

Master Rowley spoke today at JPIL and stated that noises coming from the Court of Appeal were “Singaporean”. It seems it is not looking good for the Claimant.

Immediately rumours were rife that a Costs Ruling was imminent – the Judiciary Press say there is no truth in these rumours so we will all have to continue to wait with breath that is baited as to the effects of Jackson…