Thompson v. NSL Limited
 EWHC 679 (QB)
Claimant permitted to increase her cost budget by £96,500 following an application under CPR 3.15A.
Master McCloud handed down a reserved judgment in an application made under the new CPR 3.15A which came into force in October 2020 replacing CPR 3.7, affording the Court a discretion to permit a party to vary their costs budget in the event of being satisfied that there has been a significant development.
On the facts in this head injury case, a Court in February 2019 budgeted the following phases of the parties’ costs budgets: Issue / Statements of Case, CMC, Disclosure, Witness Statements, Experts and ADR, leaving the phases of PTR, Trial Preparation & Trial to be budgeted at a later date.
For a combination of reasons identified in the judgement, the Master acceded to the Claimant’s application that there had been ‘significant developments’ in the case and permitted her to increase her budget by £96,500 over the six phases already budgeted. The Defendant did not request any equivalent increase to its budget.
In exercising her discretion, the Master considered earlier reported decisions in the cases of: BDW Trading v Lantoom Ltd  EWHC Civ. 2744 (TCC), Al-Najar v The Cumberland Hotel (London) Limited  EWHC Civ. 3532 (QB) & Sharp v Blank and Others  3390 (Ch.D.).
The Master restated the principle from Al-Najar ‘that as a matter of policy the bar for what constitutes a significant development should not be set too high because otherwise parties would always err on the side of caution by making over-generous assessments of what was to be anticipated’.
She confirmed that CPR 3.15A did not change the principle in BDW Trading that ‘the thrust of the previous case law under rule 3.7 (the predecessor to that rule) and that once the ‘threshold’ of a significant development is met the court is entitled to acknowledge that may have knock-on developments to subsequent phases in the case.’
The judgment can be seen here.