Precedent H Guidance – Drafting Your Costs Budget

What is a Precedent H, Cost Budget?

A Precedent H cost budget is one of the first costing documents drafted on any multi-track legal case. A cost budget preparation outlines what the receiving party expects to recover at the end of the case, though this can be difficult to pinpoint at the start of the case.

Precedent H drafting can be seen as a type of project management for the case ahead, highlighting where time and effort perhaps should be directed throughout the litigation. Cost budgets are needed for all multi-track cases, though only the first page of Precedent H is required to be completed for cases with a value below £50,000.

Practice Direction 3E (PD 3E) is available to provide guidance notes on how to successfully draft a cost budget, providing information on what to include and how to format it.


How to draft and file a Costs Budget

A costs budget must be filed on multi-track cases with a Directions Questionnaire if the claim value falls under £50,000, or 21 days before the first Case Management Conference (CCMC) if the claim is estimated to go over that amount. It is generally recommended to still file for the Precedent H with Directions Questionnaire regardless to avoid any unnecessary penalties further down the line, such as being awarded court fees only and then having to apply for relief from sanctions.

Costs Budgets detail your base costs incurred to date, plus estimated future costs to be incurred for the remainder of your case including the dates of your trial. VAT and additional liabilities (any success fee or ATE premium) are excluded from the Budget figures.

Your future anticipated costs should only include costs that are reasonably foreseeable and must be catered for within draft directions and the Directions Questionnaire. The Budget cannot account for every possible eventuality.

Preparing the Budget and Costs Management process do not form part of the central figures but can be found on the bottom of the front page of the cost budget as the respective 1% and 2 % figures.

All incurred/anticipated costs are to be phased within the Issues/Statements of Case, Case Management Conference, Disclosure, Witness Statements, Expert Reports, Pre-Trial Review, Trial Preparation phase, Trial and ADR/Settlement Discussions.


Do you have to file a Costs Budget?

If you fail to or choose not to file a Costs budget, then your party will be limited to recovering court fees only from the other party. You may be able to apply for relief from sanctions if you have realized you missed the deadline to file, though this must be done as soon as possible.


Can a Precedent H be Amended?

Parties can change and amend a Precedent H, however the amended budget must still be agreed by the other party. If a CCMC has not yet been held then the updated costs budget can be discussed instead. However, if the Costs and Case Management conference has already been held then a party must apply to the court for a costs management order unless otherwise agreed by the opposing party to accept the revised budget.


How Greener Costs Can Assist

Our team of Costs Lawyers and Costs Draftsmen have many years of experience and are equipped to assist our clients with Precedent H guidance. We are able to assist clients from all backgrounds on a range of cases, whether you are the paying party of receiving party.

Legal costs are all costs and expenses incurred during legal proceedings, and with our extensive knowledge and highly skilled team of costs professionals, we can provide law costing services to clients throughout England and Wales.

Greener Costs is the UK’s first net positive legal costs company, and our aim is to assist your law farm in costs services whilst also helping you become more carbon neutral. Our operations are fully paperless, and we commit to planting 25 trees per instruction. At the end of the year, we will send you a report detailing how much of your emissions have been offset by instructing our team.

If you wish to speak to a member of the team here at Greener Costs regarding Precedent H guidance then please contact us at our registered office in Greater Manchester on, 01204 263047. Alternatively, you can email us at or use the online form on our website below.



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