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Pre-Action Costs: The Need for Speed

We recently considered the Cost Budgeting implications of the Jackson Reforms.

It is becoming clear that one of the most pressing changes firms face in the wake of Jackson is in meeting the rigorous requirements for Cost Budgeting before legal action commences. With both parties obliged to present detailed budgets to the Courts for approval some 7 days in advance, there will inevitably be an increased strain on already creaking resources.

Drowning in the paper tide?

Rarely has the legal profession’s famous predilection for paperwork in triplicate bound in miles of red tape seemed more accurate. The Cost Budgeting requirements of a multi-track case could entail the completion and submission of 13 separate documents - each of which could run to several pages as firms itemise and cost each action to be undertaken.

Turning around a large quantity of essential paperwork accurately and in good time presents a whole new set of deadlines to an already time-pressured profession.  How can firms ensure their Jackson compliance does not constitute an intolerable strain on resources?

The IT crowd

Writing in the Solicitor’s Journal, District Judge Robert Jordan cautions against a tide of paperwork as firms rush to meet their Costs Budgeting Obligations.  Crucially, he emphasises the importance of technology in ensuring firms do not sink beneath an impossible administrative burden:

“Proper use of technology will be needed to ensure documents are sent and received properly. Time of arrival may be crucial to an application for relief from sanction if received late.”

Cost Budgeting deadlines will inevitably be tight. Inadequate or sluggish preparation can have catastrophic consequences, with documentation improperly completed leading to the Courts returning them for review, or even placing a party’s budget under Court Management.

Furthermore, these obligations come when firms are already feeling the effect of a profession not immune from a dolorous economic climate. As Jordan says, “At a time when courts have closed, staffing levels have reduced, counters have reduced opening times and resources are already stretched, the increasing pressure on solicitors to meet the deadlines will no doubt produce tensions.”

Partners in time

Where should firms turn when faced with a Costs Budgeting deadline hurtling towards them, and resources are already strained? An effective, professional litigation support partner is the only workable solution – and Legastat is already working with clients to ensure they are able to meet their post-Jackson requirements in good time, and in good order.

Ensuring Costs Budgeting takes into account every item, drilling down to the details of e-Disclosure requirements and other pre-action essentials, requires litigation support of the highest standard. At Legastat, we combine a sound understanding of the implications of the Jackson Reforms with the very latest in technology support. We work with clients to ensure Cost Budgeting requirements enhance, and do not diminish, their reputation – and urge firms to call us now.