The convention of dispensing with Costs Budgeting in Asbestos cases.
A useful reminder for any practitioners dealing with Asbestos claims.
Patricia Smith v W Ford & Sons (Contractors) Ltd  EWHC 1749 (QB) – The convention of dispensing with Costs Budgeting in Asbestos cases.
In this case the Defendant had sought to argue that costs budgeting should apply on the basis that the claim was a deceased case and therefore life expectancy issues did not arise, and the case was likely to require a heavily contested trial rather than a straightforward disposal process.
In his extempore Judgment given during the course of the Case Management Conference, Master Davison highlighted that there is a convention that costs budgeting is generally disapplied in the Asbestos List. 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. 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.
This is good news for Claimant Solicitors who already have to contend with significant pressures of time! The case should also provide a useful reminder to Defendant Solicitors, and hopefully help avoid such issues being raised.
We are always happy to advise on any issues relating to Costs Budgeting.
Catherine Moran ,Costs Lawyer