The defendant costs specialists

Another provisional assessment problem

By on Jan 20, 2015 | 8 comments

Another issue with provisional assessment…


The rules remain a mess over the issue of what is or is not included in the £1,500 provisional assessment cap. There has already been one amendment to try to clarify the issue but a second is needed. Does the £1,500 include or exclude the costs of negotiating costs prior to a notice of commencement being served? Does the £1,500 include or exclude the costs of Part 8 costs-only proceedings.


It should include the costs of any negotiations. It should not make a difference whether this work is done pre or post formal service of a Bill. If the costs of Part 8 proceedings are to be excluded, a fixed fee should be applicable for issuing Part 8 proceedings (say £80 plus court fee).


  1. How about just putting it all in a portal with fixed costs?

    Basically follow stages of the RTA portal but instead of CNF have a bill. Obviously admissions aren’t needed so stages 1-2 become one stage.

    Have fixed timescales for raising arguments, counter arguments and making offers. In default of agreement, a PA is requested via Part 8.

    Failure to follow portal results in payment of ‘reasonable’ rather than ‘fixed costs’ for PP sanctions or ‘fixed costs’ sanctions for RP.

    If case falls from portal then detailed assessment assumed unless both parties agree otherwise. Sanctions to both parties if there is unreasonable collusion to pull case out of portal (e.g. where there is no point of law issues).

    Rob Pettitt

    20th January 2015

  2. I’ve had one fool insist (a cost lawyer no less, he reminded me 3 times that’s what he was!) that the cap on PA costs only ran from when he applied for PA, and that everything else was in addition – he lost that one on an application before the DJ

    Negotiation costs are already included, its part of the Assessment, doesn’t anyone read case law any more? As for Part 8 costs, the normal Order is that these are “in the assessment” i.e. they are part of the assessment, and therefore within the cap

    Why should they be remunerated further anyway? Its a basic form which takes 5 minutes to fill in, plus a letter. There’s too many people out there fleecing the system still trying to pocket £500+ costs for a Part 8. The sooner they make it cost neutral save for the Court fee, the sooner we will be rid of the jokers who still embarrass our profession


    20th January 2015

  3. Having routinely received replies to points of dispute on a regular basis double the length of the pods which were not limited to concessions only and points of principle, you would hope that most costs officers would not get near £1,500.. The results however are indifferent.

    The Cost Crusader

    20th January 2015

  4. There is not much point wasting time arguing with costs draftsman if it isn’t recoverable as an additional expense when a reasonable agreement can’t be reached. Hey, why not keep costs down entirely and let joe public deal direct with these nice, kind insurance people – that will work out well.

    Captain sensible

    20th January 2015

  5. Clearly the £1,500 cap is intended to include all negotiations, including pre Notice of Commencement. It’s completely unnecessary to incur any substantial costs on ‘informal negotiations’; either the parties are close enough that it’s worth seeing if matters can be swiftly concluded without the need to formal service, or it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

    Part 8 court fee should be separate, but I don’t see why any costs for preparing the form need to be included – it takes 5-10 minutes to prepare from scratch, and most firms use templates anyway!


    20th January 2015

  6. Some other problems we are experiencing:

    Provisional assessments taking up 8 months to be heard from date of notice of hearing.

    XXXXX County Court dismissing provisional assessment costs to the paying party prior to the hearing as they have failed to file a statement of costs.

    XXXXX County Court reducing provisional assessment costs by 50% to the receiving party as they have failed to lodge a retainer.

    XXXXX County Court striking out cost claim as no retainer lodged with the assessment bundle.

    XXXXX County Court taking over 18 weeks to make a order for costs following cost submissions by both parties.

    Numerous County Courts returning the incorrect papers either enclosing the bill and failing to append the points of dispute or vice-versa.

    The whole system is in melt down!

    Cost Master

    20th January 2015

  7. @ Captain Sensible
    why not let the Insurers deal direct with the actual solicitors – then perhaps they could get some meaningful response, other than “so what are you paying me for MY PA costs to date”


    21st January 2015

  8. I notice that you completely altered my comments – rendering them completely incomprehensible and meaningless. What a shame and what a sham. I always thought the comments were real. Clearly not!

    Captain sensible

    27th January 2015

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