Mr Justice Ramsey: Costs Budgets will induce “sweaty palms” but lawyers will adapt

The Law Society Gazette carries a report of a speech made yesterday by Mr Justice Ramsey on the forthcoming cost management rules. He anticipated that lawyers will adapt to the idea that they must present a costs budget but that there will be “a few sweaty palms” when the new regime begins in April.

Lord Justice Ramsey is, of course, right to say that budgets are a “routine part of domestic life”. More significantly, there is no other project or initiative in the corporate world which does not begin with some idea of what the costs will be. Whilst lawyers (and judges come to that) may struggle with the new discipline, clients are likely to welcome it. It inevitably involves a certain amount of upfront cost; if the Jackson reforms deliver what the author intended, then that investment will quickly be recouped by the reduced costs of litigation or by an early decision, based on the budget, that the case is not worth running.

Mr Justice Ramsey emphasised that judges have been attending training seminars to help them fulfil their duty of active management in the new climate.

The fact that Mr Justice Ramsey made the speech at all appears to remove the fears expressed in the Solicitors Journal yesterday in an article headed Silence over Jackson “leading to rumours of delays” and to the suggestion “that the whole thing could be put back”.

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