Online forms for submitting litigation costs budgets are ‘seriously flawed’ and should be avoided, the chair of the Commercial Litigation Association (CLAN) has warned.
The Ministry of Justice forms, collectively known as Precedent H, are designed to help litigators submit accurate case management costs as required under the Jackson civil litigation reforms. In theory, all that practitioners need to do is key in the numbers on an Excel spreadsheet and the form does the rest.
However, CLAN chair Tony Guise told the Gazette that the forms contain mistakes. He said: ‘The formulae are seriously flawed, with inconsistencies in terminology and other problems, and should be avoided until the MoJ gets its act together.’
Paul Turner-Mitchell, legal services director at costs drafting firm E&N, said he had recently worked with a formula that automatically double-entered some figures, adding more than £3,000 in error to the total costs.
Turner-Mitchell warned that with the judiciary taking a hard line approach, it will be ‘extremely difficult’ for parties to persuade a court to allow them to make changes to their costs budget simply because mistakes have been made.
An HM Courts & Tribunals Service spokesperson said: ‘We are investigating any problems with this form and we will work to rectify them as soon as possible.’