Bills of Costs
The bill of costs is the key instrument that forms the foundation of the detailed assessment procedure. We have expertise in preparing traditional bills of costs and electronic bills of costs, as well as Form 5 bills of costs for Supreme Court proceedings. We prepare bills of costs in the full spectrum of practice areas and are experienced in preparing substantial bills of costs in high profile litigation, multi-jurisdictional disputes, and group litigation.
Our clients can trust us to prepare their bills of costs with the exact same care and attention to detail that they demonstrate when drafting the statements of case in the substantive proceedings.
Our electronic bills of costs are detailed and comprehensive documents. The format is transparent, user-friendly and provides greater levels of information, which reduces any reasonable disputes to be raised. Furthermore, our bills of costs contain all calculations in a transparent manner so as to make its full functionality available to the court and all other parties.
We take great care in drafting highly informative narratives to our bills of costs, which, whilst couched in neutral terms, properly set out the complexities in the case and justify why each and every aspect of the work undertaken was required. Our approach enables us to justify the costs claimed and maximise recovery.
We are experienced in preparing bills of costs where complex costs orders have been made, including issue-based costs orders where costs relating to distinct parts of the proceedings are required to be identified, separated, and often apportioned.
Why choose Athene Legal?
We understand the importance of cash flow to law firms and so we endeavour to complete bills of costs expeditiously.
When returning the completed bill of costs, we ensure that our clients are provided with clear and pragmatic advice in relation to any key issues that should be considered before the bill of costs is served.
We also assist our clients at every step when serving the bill of costs, including preparation of the notice of commencement and a bundle of all documents required to be served.
Following service of the bill of costs, we advise our clients in relation to any disputes raised by the paying party, any relevant technical or evolving areas of costs, and the strengths and weaknesses of their position so that they can make decisions with the best possible information and advice to hand.
We also undertake costs negotiations with the paying party, including advancing any offers of settlement.
To discuss how we can assist you with the preparation of bills of costs, contact us using the details below.
Our deep understanding of legal costs in the full spectrum of practice areas means that our clients always receive legal costs advice unique to the circumstances and challenges of each project.
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Estimates of Costs
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a bill of costs need to be in electronic format?
An electronic bill of costs must be served in Part 7 multi-track claims where the costs claimed were incurred post 6 April 2018. There are three exceptions: cases in which the proceedings are subject to fixed costs or scale costs; cases in which the receiving party is unrepresented; or where the court has otherwise ordered.
Where costs are claimed both pre and post 6 April 2018, the receiving party has two options. They may prepare a traditional paper bill of costs for the costs incurred pre 6 April 2018 and an electronic bill of costs for those costs incurred post 6 April 2018, or they may prepare an electronic bill of costs for all costs incurred. The latter tends to be more cost-effective and the preferred option in practice.
When must the bill of costs be served by?
The time by which detailed assessment proceedings must be commenced is 3 months after the date of the judgment, order, award or other determination; 3 months after the date of service of notice of discontinuance under rule 38.3; or 3 months after the date when the right to costs arose following an acceptance of a Part 36 offer.
Where the receiving party fails to commence detailed assessment proceedings within the three month period, the paying party may apply for an order requiring the receiving party to commence detailed assessment proceedings within such time as the court may specify.
If the paying party does not make such an application in accordance with paragraph and the receiving party commences the proceedings later than the three month period, the court may disallow all or part of the interest otherwise payable. However, the court will not impose any other sanction unless there is misconduct.
What supporting documentation is required to be served with the bill of costs?
Paragraph 5.2 of CPR Practice Direction 47 provides that on commencing detailed assessment proceedings, the receiving party must serve on the paying party and all the other relevant persons the following documents:
(a) a notice of commencement in Form N252;
(b) a copy (or, where paragraph 5.A4 applies, copies) of the bill of costs;
(c) copies of the fee notes of counsel and of any expert in respect of fees claimed in the bill;
(d) written evidence as to any other disbursement which is claimed and which exceeds £500;
(e) a statement giving the name and address for service of any person upon whom the receiving party intends to serve the notice of commencement;
(f) if a costs management order has been made (and if the same information is not already fully provided in an electronic bill), a breakdown of the costs claimed for each phase of the proceedings. Precedent Q in the Schedule of Costs Precedents annexed to this Practice Direction is a model form of breakdown of the costs claimed for each phase of the proceedings.
How much of the bill of costs will generally be recovered?
The amount of costs that will be recovered will largely depend on whether the costs are to be assessed on the standard basis or indemnity basis. On the standard basis, any doubt as to whether costs are reasonable and proportionate will be resolved in favour of the paying party. Furthermore, the court will only allow costs which are proportionate to the sums in issue, value of any non-monetary relief, complexity of the litigation, the paying party’s conduct, and any wider factors, such as reputation or public importance. On the indemnity basis, there is no such proportionality requirement, and any doubt as to whether costs are reasonable and proportionate will be resolved in favour of the receiving party.
It is widely considered that receiving parties can generally expect to recover 70 – 80% of the bill of costs, however, there are many factors that influence the level of recoverable costs.
Are the costs of preparing the bill of costs recoverable?
The costs of preparing the bill of costs are claimed within the bill of costs itself and are recoverable from the paying party.