Case Budgeting

For non-capital cases, Judicial Conference Guidelines encourage courts to use case-budgeting techniques in representations that appear likely to or have become extraordinary in terms of potential costs (ordinarily, a representation in which panel attorney hours are expected to exceed 300 hours or total expenditures are expected to exceed $30,000 for appointed counsel and services other than counsel on behalf of an individual Criminal Justice Act (CJA) defendant). For capital cases, courts are encouraged to use case budgeting in all federal capital prosecutions and capital habeas corpus representations by panel attorneys. [Guide, Vol. 7, § 230.26] [Guide, Vol. 7, § 640.10] [Guide, Vol. 7, § 640.30(b-c)]

Investigative, expert, and other services may be required before there is an opportunity for counsel to prepare a case budget or for the court to approve it. Thus, courts should act upon requests for services before a case budget is submitted and approved, where prompt authorization is necessary for adequate representation. In examining the case budget, courts may reconsider amounts authorized before the budget's approval, but shall not rescind prior authorization where work has already been performed. [Guide, Vol. 7, § 230.26.30(a-b)] [Guide, Vol. 7, § 640.40(a-b)]

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