Detailed Assessment of Costs
The detailed assessment of costs is a process that usually occurs upon conclusion of a case by which the Court determines the level of legal costs to be paid by one party to another. Usually, costs will be agreed between the parties and so the need for a detailed assessment of costs to determine the costs payable is limited. If you are involved in a detailed assessment of costs, it is imperative to understand the rules and the process.
The receiving party is responsible for commencing the detailed assessment of costs process. Commencement requires the receiving party to serve various documents on the paying party as set out in CPR PD 47, paragraph 5.2, including a Notice of Commencement and a Bill of Costs. We prepare Bills of Costs in all types of claims. Our Bills of Costs are detailed and comprehensive documents that justify the costs claimed and maximise recovery.
The detailed assessment of costs must be commenced within three months of the judgment, order or other determination giving rise to the right to a detailed assessment of costs. Failure to commence within this period can result in sanctions being applied.
Once the Bill of Costs has been served, the paying party to the detailed assessment of costs proceedings may dispute any item in the Bill of Costs by serving Points of Dispute. The Points of Dispute must be served within 21 days after the service of the Notice of Commencement. Failure to do so may result in the receiving party obtaining a Default Costs Certificate, which enables the receiving party to recover its costs as claimed.
Where any party to the detailed assessment of costs proceedings serves points of dispute, the receiving party may serve a reply on the other parties to the detailed assessment of costs proceedings. The receiving party has 21 days to serve Points of Reply. We regularly prepare both points of dispute and reply that are clearly written and set out concisely the nature and grounds of the argument. Utilising our expertise, we ensure that we advance all possible arguments to either dispute or defend the costs claimed.
Throughout the detailed assessment of costs procedure, the parties are likely to put forward offers of settlement and there is likely to be some negotiation between the parties in an effort to reach settlement. We are experienced in negotiating legal costs both on behalf of, and against, leading top 100 UK law firms and major insurers. Our knowledge of technical and evolving areas of costs, together with our tenacious approach, often enables us to reach a swift and successful settlement of costs.
An interim payment on account of costs should be obtained before the detailed assessment of costs procedure. Ideally, an interim payment should be sought for most cases within the final order reflecting the terms of settlement; however, if it has not been, it is open to the receiving party to seek an interim payment for costs during the detailed assessment of costs procedure.
Where points of dispute are served, the receiving party must file a request for a detailed assessment of costs hearing within 3 months of the expiry of the period for commencing detailed assessment of costs proceedings.
If the Bill of Costs is £75,000 or less, the matter will be listed for a provisional assessment. This involves the Court undertaking the assessment of costs based on the documents served, and the parties are not required to attend a Court hearing in person. If, however, a party wishes to contest the outcome of the assessment, they may subsequently request an oral hearing.
Where the Bill of Costs is greater than £75,000, the matter will be listed for a detailed assessment of costs hearing. The parties are required to attend the hearing to make oral submissions. It is important that a costs lawyer or costs barrister attends the detailed assessment of costs hearing in order to make representations on technical costs issues and to obtain the best outcome.
At Athene Legal, we pride ourselves on obtaining outstanding outcomes for our clients at detailed and provisional assessment hearings. We ensure that our clients are provided with the best advice in relation to the strengths and weaknesses of their position. We will prepare all documents and bundles necessary for the detailed assessment of costs hearing in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Directions. We will also take care of filing and serving such documents and bundles at the necessary times.
We help to address and resolve multifaceted challenges in relation to all aspects of legal costs, tailoring our strategic approach to address the specific objectives of our clients.
Estimates of Costs
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