What is a costs lawyer and law costs draftsman?
In English law, a law costs draftsman is a specialist lawyer who settles the legal costs of a court case. The role of the law costs draftsman centres on a procedure known as the detailed assessment of costs, which is controlled by statute in England and Wales.
Costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen are highly specialist legal professionals working in the law and practice area of legal costs. A costs lawyer is a qualified and regulated lawyer, whereas a law costs draftsman may not be regulated. This means that costs lawyers can undertake the following reserved legal activities:
– Conduct litigation;
– Appear in court; and
– Swear oaths
Costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen are considered to be the only branch of the legal profession with detailed knowledge and expertise in the legal costs field. They predominantly work with firms of solicitors, but are also often instructed by members of the public, including both businesses and individuals.
What do costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen do?
Costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen deal with a wide range of legal costs matters. Their work includes:
Legal costs between the parties – in litigation, the unsuccessful party is usually ordered to pay the successful party’s costs.
Solicitor and client costs – clients who are unhappy with their solicitor’s bill of costs can challenge it. Costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen are often instructed to advise on law and cost procedure and may argue in support of or against the bill of costs.
Legal aid or public funding – where a solicitor is acting on behalf of a publicly funded client, a detailed bill of costs is usually required to be assessed by the Legal Services Commission before payment can be made out of the public legal fund.
What activities do costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen undertake?
Costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen regularly undertake the following exercises:
Draft bills and schedules of costs;
Draft points of dispute and replies to claims for costs;
Assist in the preparation of costs budgets and advise on costs budgets presented by an opposing party;
Advise on retainers and fee arrangements between clients and their legal advisors;
Advise on and prepare claims for costs from public funds (Legal Aid);
Advise on disputes between solicitors and their clients; and
Act as costs mediators or arbitrators in costs disputes.
Why should you instruct a costs lawyer or law costs draftsman?
Legal costs is a very complicated and niche area of law. Costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen are experienced in providing pragmatic advice in relation to complex aspects of legal costs in a digestible form. Utilising their expertise, costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen are able to prepare costs pleadings with a high level of accuracy, which is essential to either justifying or opposing legal costs. The law surrounding legal costs has evolved with increased complexity in recent years following the emergence of a number of high profile court decisions concerning proportionality, costs budgeting and Part 36, and experienced costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen are well-versed in the arguments that should be advanced on such issues.
For law firms, instructing a costs lawyer or law costs draftsman allows the solicitor to focus their attention on case management, leaving the costs management to the costs professional with expertise in the same. Moreover, the hourly rates of costs lawyers and law costs draftsmen are invariably less than solicitors so they can delegate the work to specialists at a lower cost.
Why choose Athene Legal?
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. We ensure that we are aligned with our clients’ interests, working in partnership with them to find the quickest and most cost-effective solution.
We are experienced in dealing with the costs in high-profile litigation in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and we have acted on behalf of many leading practices and ranked lawyers, as recognised by the leading independent legal directories.
We bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in the costs management process and detailed assessment procedure, and our expertise in legal costs includes both recovering costs on behalf of receiving parties and opposing costs on behalf of paying parties.
Contact us now to discuss your needs and receive a free, no obligation quotation.
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0207 459 4843