Legal Cost Specialists

Nothing better to do?

Contents of email received on 30th March 2012: “Please can you provide an update on the current position of our clients cost cheque in relation to this matter? Costs were agreed on 23rd March in the amount of £7,000.00 on 14 day payment terms”.


19 thoughts on “Nothing better to do?”

  1. exactly, its a polite request, designed at ensuring someone at your end is actually doing something about getting the agreed cvosts paid

    too many times costs companies conclude cases, but when enforcement is taken for non-payment, it turns out they didnt prompty advise their client

    you should be grateful for the request

  2. I’m guessing that such firms, on the same basis, helpfully remind paying parties that Points of Dispute are due before the 21 day deadline for service expires.

  3. If they were an efficient firm who know the value of cash-flow then I imagine they would make that call yes. Of course receiving parties are required to serve a Bill of Costs within 3 months of the costs order. The rules also say that the paying party should ideally make a Part 47 offer within 14 days of service. I think making a call to try and prompt that offer to be made is perfectly reasonable and could even save costs. Heaven forbid that the paying party’s draftsmen would fleece their insurer client by only making their offer once they’ve incurred the costs of drafting PODs!

  4. Cockney Rebel

    The issue relates to payment of agreed costs and Pete B`s final remark does him little credit.

    Why is it OK for the Claimant to have 3 months to serve a bill (with no penalty for late service other than loss of interest) yet a paying party has only 14 days to receive the file and bill, read them, take instructions and make an offer? This time period is ridiculous and sits uneasily with the 21 days allowed for service of PoD.

  5. I’m not looking for credit squire. I’m just pointing out a sorry truth. If paying parties had 3 months to review the Bill and make an offer, then they would tactically do so on every case; whereas it’s in the receiving party’s interest to serve the Bill as soon as possible, so such time constraints are not necessary. Quite simple really!

  6. Cockney Rebel

    No one has suggested paying parties should have 3 months to review a bill, squire.

    I think one month to serve PoD and make an offer would be, to coin a word, proportionate.

  7. As a claimant I think pods are useless in most cases. I always chase an offer after 14 days, dialogue is the way forward.

    And yes its year end so I am chasing agreed costs and payments on account. Its not that I have nothing better to do but rather that cashflow is king. Even defendants know that Simon so I’ll take it as tongue in cheek

  8. I’ve no problem people chasing interim payments or overdue payments but does anyone seriously expect a defendant draftsman to chase their client to discover the updated position on a payment that is not yet due? Remember, this query was raised concerning the position of a payment that was, even on its own terms, not yet due. It will take a minimum of two communications to establish the position and report back and 95% of the time the answer will be no more than “the cheque has been requisitioned”. And who will pay for this unnecessary work?

    I’m going to start charging those who make this kind of request. Does £50 plus VAT sound reasonable, with payment to be made upfront?

  9. I have had this a lot since Christmas, chasing after 7 days when we agree a 14-21 day period. I understand the ‘doing our job’ argument, but surely chasing around the time payment is due would be more appropriate?

    I have also had people apparently assume that I don’t do my job properly and calling me to check that I have requested payment in the first place a few days after costs have been agreed!

  10. It was a ridiculous letter. I would have just ignored it. In any event, in my view the role of the costs draftsman/lawyer has ended once costs are agreed or assessed and it is up to the solicitors to communicate with one another as to payment of the costs.

  11. I’m sure next time people’s bosses ask them to chase a cheque the correct response should be ‘no boss, sorry, I cant, think of all the time being wasted by the other side’

  12. @ John Allen if thats the case, you wont protest at us contacting your client direct? And when said client tells us that they havent heard from you confirming settlement……?

    @ Simon payment is “due” before the end of the agreed period, therefore chasing for payment for your client to fulfill the contract you have bound them to before the final date for payment arrives, is surely in your best interests? Your argument, is to not “chase” until after the payment period has ended, but of course that places you client in breach of contract and open to immediate enforcement

  13. Charles Wheatcroft

    I find insurers to be deeply unhelpful when they are due to remit payment.

    I do not care to recall how many times I am told that it takes more than 14 days to issue a cheque despite all of my offers being “payable within 14 days of acceptance”.

    I think a gentle reminder is fine if you have a rolling retainer with your insurer client but if you have handed the file back there is little you can do.

  14. Why is this such an issue?

    Its year end for lord sake. people, firms have targets, bonuses etc up for grabs. Chasing is inevitable

    Where has the commercial realism gone?

  15. I don’t know, but the ‘issue’ has certainly prompted a lengthier debate than entity regulation of the costs profession did!

  16. Anonymous. I certainly would not mind you contacting my client direct after we have settled the costs, indeed I would prefer that you did so. You would not find that I had failed to inform the client of the settlement. Settled one yesterday and sent client a letter informing straight away. Doesn’t everyone do that?

  17. What a load of nonsense!You agree costs. Agree a time to pay. If you dont pay, dont chase, just enforce simple! 28 years in this game and still we argue over the simplest of matters!

    We all have time limits its the nature of the job! I personally do ring Defendants just to give heads up about POds, does not harm and infact starts the negotiations off on good footing. However, if Defendants unreasonable then i stick to the protocol & Rules all the way down the line until payment.

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