New Directions Questionnaire Published
Posted on 12th October 2023 at 08:53
By Sean Linley, Senior Costs Draftsman
The New N181, Directions Questionnaire, has been published online which is for the use in Fast Track, Intermediate Track and Multi-Track cases. It is available on the Court website here.
There are some interesting observations to be made:
1. You have to mark on the form which track you believe is suitable and whether it is agreed with the opponent. If it is not you have a very small box to explain why not. It’s likely parties will want and need to rely upon additional information.
2. Under point 4 of the DQ there is a new section for complexity bands for Fast Track & Intermediate Track cases. It includes a not applicable option which is presumably for Portal cases to which complexity bands do not apply (unless a claim exits the Protocol). Again the box where there is a dispute is small and it’s likely parties will want to rely upon additional information.
3. Section 3 includes provisions to address vulnerability which we know is a significant issue in relation to costs. Again the box here feels inadequate but the headline is about getting vulnerability issues before the court at an early stage. This will be a factor relevant to allocation and assignment.
4. Section H deals with Costs and states that “If your claim is likely to be allocated to the multi-track, form Precedent H must be filed in accordance with CPR 3.13.” CPR 3.13 states that for a claim with a value of less than £50,000.00 you must file and exchange a Costs Budget with the DQ. So if you have a claim where allocation is disputed (one party says Multi-Track and another does not) what do you do? Prepare a budget to ensure compliance with the risk one is not needed or not prepare a budget and run the risk of sanctions for not doing so. It appears the rules haven’t caught up just yet but if there is any doubt generally the best advice is to do a budget. Pragmatic discussions with the opponent are likely to help in seeking an agreement on the approach.
5. PD 26.3 includes provision for parties to include extra information and where there are disputes over allocation or track it seems inevitable parties will utilise this procedure. To rely on any additional information then either:
a. The parties have to agree that the information is correct and should be put before the court; or
b. Provide confirmation that the document has been sent to all other parties.
Notably the PD provides some examples of information which will assist the court:
"(a) a party’s intention to apply for summary judgment or some other order that may dispose of the case or reduce the amount in dispute or the number of issues remaining to be decided;
(b) a party’s intention to issue an additional claim or to add another party;
(c) the steps the parties have taken in the preparation of evidence (in particular expert evidence), the steps they intend to take and whether those steps are to be taken in co-operation with any other party;
(d) the directions the party believes will be appropriate to be given for the management of the case;
(e) about any particular facts that may affect the timetable the court will set;
(f) any facts which may make it desirable for the court to fix an allocation hearing, an assignment hearing, where applicable, or a hearing at which case management directions will be given."
How helpful this list is (in places) is questionable as there’s no guidance as to what kind of facts would be assistive. We would recommend looking at the CPR 26.9 and 26.13 factors when putting forward evidence for the appropriate allocation and if applicable appropriate assignment.
We are always happy to talk any aspect of costs! Should you have any queries arising from this blog or generally then please get in touch for a chat either via phone 01482 534567 or e-mail email@example.com. Follow us on LinkedIn to keep up-to-date with developments.
Tagged as: Case Management
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