Costs of requesting oral hearing after provisional assessment
If a party is unhappy with the outcome of a provisional assessment they have the automatic right to request an oral hearing. The large disincentive is that if they fail to achieve an improvement in their favour of 20% or more of the provisionally assessed amount that party will pay the costs of and incidental to that hearing.
I suspect that many have interpreted the rule to mean that if a party does achieve an improvement of 20% or more than they will recover their costs of the oral hearing. However, is that what the rule actually says? The wording of CPR 47.15(10) is:
“Any party which has requested an oral hearing, will pay the costs of and incidental to that hearing unless –
(a) it achieves an adjustment in its own favour by 20% or more of the sum provisionally assessed; or
(b) the court otherwise orders.”
CPR 47.15(10)(b) appears to be drafted widely enough such that the court has a discretion not to order the party who requested the hearing, but failed to achieve the 20% threshold, to pay for the costs of the hearing.
However, what costs, and by virtue of which rule, is a party who requested a hearing and achieved a 20% improvement entitled to?