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. We are able to digest these issues and cut right to the heart of the matter. Our measured and thoughtful approach, coupled with our extensive experience, enables us to negotiate legal costs to a successful settlement expeditiously in the full spectrum of legal matters.
Our dynamic and client-focussed team are experienced in negotiating legal costs both on behalf of, and against, leading top 100 UK law firms and major insurers.
Our expertise in negotiating legal costs extends from simpler claims, where the costs tend to be provisionally assessed, to complex and high profile litigation, where the costs claimed are often substantial and the nature of the arguments raised technical.
We are tenacious in our negotiations, but also very amenable and able to build a natural rapport with our opponents, which enables us to often reach a swift and successful settlement, thereby avoiding incurring unnecessary costs.
Negotiating on behalf of receiving parties
When instructed on behalf of receiving parties, utilising our extensive knowledge of technical and evolving areas of costs and the full range of authorities, we advance considered and planned responses to any disputes raised in order to justify the costs claimed as much as possible. We also endeavour to obtain significant interim payments to improve our clients’ cash flow and lock-up performance.
Negotiating on behalf of paying parties
When negotiating legal costs on behalf of paying parties, we identify and robustly challenge costs that are disproportionate, unreasonably incurred, unreasonably high or not reasonably recoverable between the parties.
Why choose Athene Legal?
What sets us apart is our rational judgment and our ability to evaluate a costs claim and the realistic level of costs that would be awarded at assessment with precision. We are skilled in obtaining judgment against our opponents that is at least as advantageous as the proposals contained in our offers due to perfectly and strategically pitched Part 36 offers. This entitles our clients to recover the Part 36 benefits set out under CPR 36.17(4) in relation to interest, costs of assessment, and the additional 10% uplift on the assessed costs, which often amount to significant sums.
Throughout the negotiations with the opponent, we ensure that our clients are provided with pragmatic advice in relation to the strengths and weaknesses of their position, as well as the realistic level of costs that would be awarded at assessment so that they can make decisions with the best possible information and advice to hand.
To discuss how we can assist you with negotiating legal 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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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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a reasonable level of interim payment to request?
Where the claim for costs is reasonable and there are no concerns with regard to the proportionality of the costs, it is reasonable to seek an interim payment for 65 – 70% of any costs that are subject to detailed assessment and 90% of any budgeted costs that have already been approved by the court.
What is the difference between a Calderbank offer and Part 36 offer?
A Calderbank offer is headed ‘without prejudice save as to costs’. The costs consequences of Calderbank offers are governed by CPR 44. The court will have discretion over costs of assessment. A Calderbank offer provides greater flexibility than a Part 36 offer; it allows the party making the offer to be flexible when making terms about the length of time the offer remains open for acceptance, costs of assessment and payment terms.
Part 36 goes beyond Part 44 in that it sets highly prescriptive terms. Part 36 offers must be open for acceptance for at least 21 days. They also cannot be withdrawn or amended without the court’s permission. Despite the rigidness of Part 36, it provides more certainty as to how costs will be treated. The Court does not have the same level of discretion as when a Calderbank offer is made. Furthermore, where the offeror beats their own Part 36 offer at detailed or provisional assessment, they will also be entitled to the Part 36 benefits set out under CPR 36.17 in relation to costs and interest.
When will costs be adjudged disproportionate?
Where costs are assessed on the standard basis, costs incurred will be deemed disproportionate if they do not bear a reasonable relationship to the following factors:
- The sums in issue in the proceedings;
- The value of any non-monetary relief in issue in the proceedings;
- The complexity of the litigation;
- Any additional work generated by the conduct of the paying party; and
- Any wider factors involved in the proceedings, such as reputation or public importance.
How frequently do cases proceed to detailed or provisional assessment?
In most cases we are able to reach an agreement on costs. Only a very small percentage of cases proceed to detailed assessment. It is more common for cases to proceed to provisional assessment (where the costs claimed are £75,000 or less) because provisional assessments are undertaken on the papers only and the parties are not required to make oral submissions.