Budgeting and Proportionality

Red & White Services Limited v Phil Anslow Limited [2018] EWHC 1699 (Ch)

Costs may be disproportionate where it will cost significantly more to fight than a party stands to recover. One test is whether the trial is likely to be an end in itself or merely part of the process of arguing who should pay (all or most of) the costs. Where costs exceed quantum it will often be the latter, and costs may be disproportionate.

While the dispute was not simply as to money, the claim having a higher value and greater significance than that shown only by the quantum of damages, the issues in the case did not justify disproportionate costs nor the very substantial differences between the parties’ budgets (a party’s disproportionately low budget is not an appropriate yardstick to assess another party’s higher budget).

The Judge considered the matters in issue and used his own experience to arrive at a reasonable and proportionate figure.

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