Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in December, 2010

Costs draftsman v Solicitor

By on Dec 7, 2010 | 3 comments

Robert Males, writing in New Law Journal, expressed the view that: “I believe the solicitor is the best person to deal with negotiation and settlement of costs.  If the matter proceeds to assessment then while the costs draftsman may be perfectly capable of putting forward the technical arguments in terms of costs recovery the conducting solicitor is in the best position to explain to a costs judge not only what has been done but why.” Now, for a routine case there should be no need for the fee earner to attend to explain “what” and “why” as it should be self-evident from the papers and attendance notes. I remember attending one assessment hearing where the fee earner did attend to “assist” the law costs draftsman on the other side who was meant to be conducting the assessment.  Every time an issue arose in relation to the work undertaken, the fee earner embarked on a long and impassioned explanation of why the work was essential.  The poor costs draftsman barely got a word in edgeways. Why keep a dog and bark...

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Mediating costs disputes

By on Dec 6, 2010 | 0 comments

The costs of taking a costs dispute all the way to a full detailed assessment hearing can be ridiculously expensive and the outcome incredibly difficult to predict. The idea of mediation in costs disputes therefore has considerable merit, although I’ve yet to try it myself. Philip Hesketh has been offering a mediation service specifically for legal costs disputes for some time and is offering a free conference call/seminar on this subject on 13 December 2010: see flyer....

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Part 47.18

By on Dec 2, 2010 | 12 comments

I am still recovering from a run of detailed assessment hearings in the Senior Courts Costs Office. (Yes, I do sometimes do some real work.) A number of these cases have gone part heard but these were the outcomes in the other claims: 1. Bill of costs in first case reduced from £87,279 to £47,461. 2. Bill of costs in second case reduced from £76,685 to £37,954. 3. Bill of costs in third case reduced from £77,578 to £31,850. 4. Bill of costs in fourth case reduced from £96,422 to £32,969. (Yes, I really am that good.) Unfortunately, despite the impressive size of the reductions achieved, the claimants in each case still managed to beat the defendants’ Part 47.19 offers. The claimants’ did not succeed on their own offers and so Part 47.19 did not come into play. One then turns to the factors listed in Part 47.18 when determining which party should pay the costs of assessment. The starting point is that the receiving party is entitled to the costs but the court must have regard to all the circumstances. The key factor in each of these cases was obviously, and as recognised by the court, “the amount … by which the bill of costs has been reduced”. So what orders did the court make? In the first three cases the claimant receiving party was still awarded 50% of their costs. In the fourth case the court made no order as to costs. I’ve mentioned before the reluctance of the courts to fully utilise their powers under Part 47.18. How big a reduction is needed to a bill before the receiving party has to pay for the privilege of submitting an inflated...

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