Defendant fails to demonstrate significant developments under PD3E s7.6 to secure budget increase

Seekings & Ors v Moores & Ors [2019] EWHC 1476 (Comm)

The was an application by the defendant in a business dispute to upwardly revise his costs budget under PD3E s7.6 by reason of various ‘significant developments’ in the litigation including additional costs involved in answering a request for further information and an increase in the number of documents that his advisors had been required to review.

The application was unsuccessful primarily due to the fact that the increased costs had, it was held, arisen due to the defendant’s own actions in failing to properly clarify his case, despite two court orders to do so. Furthermore, the extent to which his legal team were required to review disclosure was something which should reasonably have been anticipated.

“The court will only approve costs which are reasonable and proportionate. An increase in the Defendant’s costs flowing from his failure to answer the requests properly, even if not reasonably anticipated, will not warrant a revision to his budget.”

As a result of the finding that there had been no ‘significant developments’ within the meaning of PD3E s7.6 the Court was not required to determine the “difficult question of jurisdiction”, namely whether it had the power to vary a costs budget in circumstances where the vast majority of the increased costs had already been incurred.