- Read everything.
You need to know not only what has been done so far, but what is needed to get this case to trial.
- Have an amendable copy of the directions.
Many courts block list CCMCs. Even where directions are agreed, you are likely to be given carriage of the amended directions to include the costs budgeting orders. If you have an electronic amendable copy of the directions, you will save yourself the painstaking task of typing up the directions later while also trying to decipher your hastily scrawled down notes from the hearing.
- Check the statement of value.
If you are arguing that yours is a £250,000 claim and should be budgeted accordingly, but your claim form has valued the claim up to £50,000, you need to know why there is a difference and if permission is needed to amend the value.
- Read the directions questionnaire.
The DQ should tell you how many witnesses you are going to have which will affect the sums allowed at the witness statements phase. It will also tell you the estimated length of trial and which experts each side says they need.
- Speak to the file handler.
They know this case, the client and how much time things are taking. If you have a client who struggles to read or write, doesn’t speak English or any number of other issues, you need to know.
- Create a self-calculating spreadsheet.
Being the person who is sat there with a calculator frantically trying to check if everyone else has reached the right figure is a nightmare. Changing the figures as you go makes life so much easier.
- Don’t just look phase by phase.
Look at the total budget. If there are 8 conferences with counsel across the whole budget think about (a) if they are all needed and (b) if they are not, where do you actually need a conference and why?
- Think about incurred time.
The Court will not interfere with incurred time but will have it in mind when considering what has happened going forward. If the claim has been particularly complicated to get started and therefore lots of time has been spent on issue and statement of case, you need to know.
- Be flexible.
Even if your directions are agreed, that doesn’t mean that those are the directions that will be ordered. If the directions change, your budget may need amending. For example, if no permission is given for a particular expert, you need to quickly work out what that expert’s fees were and what time was needed to deal with that evidence.
10. Feel free to ask for a pause
CCMCs move quickly. If you have fallen behind when making a note of figures or doing maths, don’t be afraid to say so and ask for clarification. It is far easier to do in the hearing than afterwards.