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Business and Property Courts: Capped Costs List Pilot Scheme

In Faiz v Burnley BC [2020] EWHC 407 (Ch), the first proceedings to reach trial under the Capped Costs List Pilot Scheme, Judge Mark Halliwell had to decide whether Burnley Borough Council had successfully forfeited its lease for a cafe in a historic country house in Lancashire.

The Pilot, governed by PD 51W, is available for cases in the Business and Property Courts in Manchester, Leeds and the London Circuit Commercial Court with a value up to £250,000 and a likely trial of no more than two days. Here, in line with the Pilot, parties relied on the documents contained in their bundles of core documents with no other directions for disclosure.  There were no directions for expert evidence and no provision for cost budgeting. The flexibility of the Pilot was demonstrated by the agreement that the Council could call three witnesses, rather than be limited to the two suggested by the Practice Direction.

The main advantage of cases brought under the Pilot is the speed with which the matter is heard. Here, there was  just over 10 weeks between the hearing of the initial application for interim injunctive relief and the trial in early February 2020. The trial judge noted: ‘At all stages, there was a significant degree of collaboration to ensure that the case was ready by the agreed trial date. For this, the parties are to be commended.’

 

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