In the course of the costs budgeting exercise the Claimants had complained, in particular, about the level of the Defendant’s incurred and estimated disclosure costs and asked the court both comments on those incurred and significantly curtail, if not disallow altogether, the costs of disclosure going forward.
In Richard v The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) & Anor  EWHC 1666 Chief Master Marsh urged a “degree of caution” when considering whether to make a comment about incurred costs at a costs management hearing, saying “To my mind there is little or no value in the court recording a general comment about incurred costs along the lines that the incurred costs are “substantial” or they are “too high”. If the court wishes to record a comment that the incurred costs are “excessive” or they are “unreasonable and disproportionate” it will wish to be sure that the comment is made on a sound footing, rather than impression, because commenting is quite unlike the exercise of approving a figure per phase for future costs. The court will also wish to consider the utility of making a comment unless it is specific and well-founded.”
These sentiments have been echoed by Master Kaye in a decision handed down last November, but only just published.
Chief Master Marsh considers the purpose and effect of commenting on incurred costs at a costs management hearing under CPR 3.15 and PD 3E.