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The convention of dispensing with Costs Budgeting in Asbestos cases - Patricia Smith v W Ford & Sons (Contractors) Ltd 

Patricia Smith v W Ford & Sons (Contractors) Ltd [2021] EWHC 1749 (QB) – The convention of dispensing with Costs Budgeting in Asbestos cases.

The Asbestos Masters have provided guidance regarding costs budgeting in asbestos cases. The Defendant had sought to argue that costs budgeting should apply on the basis that (1) the Claimant was deceased and therefore life expectancy issues did not arise; (2) that the case was likely to require a heavily contested trial rather than a straightforward disposal process, and (3) that it amounted to a general encomium in favour of costs budgeting.

Master Davison, in his extempore Judgment given during the course of the Case Management Conference, highlighted that there is a convention that costs budgeting is generally disapplied in asbestos disease cases. This has been reinforced by the introduction of PD 3E paragraph (1) which states that “In cases where the Claimant has a limited or severely impaired life expectation (5 years or less remaining) the court will ordinarily disapply cost management under Section II of Part 3”.

He further commented that in order to administer the Asbestos List efficiently, the Masters make no distinction in terms of listing, between Mesothelioma, other asbestos cases, and fatal cases and the listing arrangements cannot accommodate costs budgeting.

It was further highlighted that there was no evidence that the process of detailed assessment is not adequately controlled in asbestos cases, and that if the Defendant wished to displace the well-established convention, the onus would be on the Defendant to show that costs in asbestos cases are disproportionate or not adequately controlled.

In all the circumstances costs budgeting was dispensed with in this matter.

If you require assistance with any of your legal costs requirements, please do get in touch with the team on 01733 350 880, or by email mail@aandmbacon.co.uk. A&M Bacon Limited are part of the Frenkel Topping Group, for more details please do visit www.frenkeltoppinggroup.co.uk or our website www.aandmbacon.co.uk

Published 27 October 2021

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