Legal Cost Specialists

Bill of costs – estimated time

With modern computerised case management systems it is bad enough to see any estimated time entries in a bill of costs but I have just received a bill where the time claimed for drafting the bill itself has been estimated.


22 thoughts on “Bill of costs – estimated time”

  1. serious?

    the test on estimated time says it all

    computerised time sheets to not detract from that

    estimated for bill is odd mind

  2. Is there any rule that says you should indicate in the bill what time is estimated and what time is recorded?

    Just interested.

  3. I suspect I know the Firm to which you refer. I have just seen one of their Bills where the Bill drafting time was estimated and the Paralegal who drew it is charging her time at £400 per hour ! That set me thinking . Who has the record for the highest Hourly Rate allowed for drafting a bill ? I know Andy Ellis got £150 for Motto which sets a pretty good benchmark. I regularly see £161 claimed but have yet to see that allowed .

  4. The champertous costs draftsman who charged % of profits in the old days convert to hourly rate and you have your answer Mr Cosgrove! good old days. I bet most defendant negotiators are still charging % of savings aswell. Perhaps we claimant boys and girls should start hitting the defendants with some nicely worded Part 18 requests regarding retainers and locus standi!!! LOng live Ahmed -v- Powell!!

  5. There is no rule that says you should indicate estimated time, despite what is often asserted in PODs

    I have achieved a rate between D and C as claimed in the Bill, however have never claimed at the full grade C.

    See no reason why cant get Grade C mind if the bill deserves, some issues of apportionment and also group action are quite demanding

  6. Estimated time:-

    “The defendant has made an offer against the schedule which puts us at risk. Therefore, lets add 10 hours worth of fictitious time within the documents schedule of the bill”.

    Good translation, no?

  7. Re. anonymous @ 10.43 – The majority of defendant cost draftsman are solicitors firms now anyway, are they not? Very much doubt they’ll be ‘caught out’. Does anyone still quote Ahmed v Powell and go down the pt 18 questions route? Incidentally, the cost negotiator firm in Ahmed v Powell no longer exists

  8. @anon – love the sweeping statement, it really convinced me, honest

    Re Frasceti

    “The right to charge cannot depend upon the question whether discussions are recorded or unrecorded. It must depend initially upon whether they in fact took place and occupied the time claimed. If they are recorded in attendance notes then this will no doubt ordinarily be accepted as sufficient evidence of those facts. If they are not so recorded it may well be that the Claimant is unable to satisfy the Taxing Officer or Master as to the facts. But neither the presence nor the absence of an attendance note is conclusive.”

  9. Re Frasceti is unreported, isn’t it? From 1981? I thought Brush v Bower said that estimated time should only be allowed in exceptional circumstances (or similar wording).

  10. with DBA etc then the percentage saving etc will be back

    In terms exceptional my experience is if you can show that the work was actually undertaken then you get the time, subject to the test of reasonableness

  11. @Richard 3:04pm – classic misunderstanding of Brush – you clearly work for a Defendant firm:)
    @ anonymous 10:43 I know of several whom still do – 1 in particular in the NW charges 10% of base pc as drawn, then converts it to time based at their £inflatedph charge rate!!

  12. Interesting that annon missed the end of the quote from Frascati (which is unreported, but is cited in Brush):

    “…In general, however, all such discussions involving any substantial period of time should be recorded and an estimated addition should only be allowed for short discussions which it would be impracticable to record.”

    As for Brush itself, what Brooke J (as he then was) – sitting with CM Hurst as assessor – said was:

    “In my judgment…claims such as this are likely to be viewed with very considerable care and it would only be in an unusual [not exceptional – query the difference] case that any substantial allowance would be made for unrecorded time.”

    However, it must be remembered that Brooke & Frascati were largely referring to claims for time for discussions and meetings. In my experience, for what little it’s worth, when it comes to documents it is much easier to persuade the court that the work was done and the issue then becomes one of whether the estimate is a reasonable one and, if not, what the correct figure is.

    Still – in the modern world, hard to explain why a solicitor does not properly record time as the case progresses.

  13. Hmm. Interesting. I actually do mostly Claimant work but I’m getting sick and tired of the amount of fraud and borderline fraud I’m seeing in the office. For example, we get a lot of cases where a schedule has been drawn that has been entirely fabricated and is way over what was actually incurred. And then our instructions are to “beat the schedule.” How? By “estimating” time. I refuse to work on such cases. I always thought estimating time was about claiming for work that was clearly done but no time has been recorded, not making up lots of things that the fee earner MIGHT have done.

  14. Yes, join the dark side.

    On file
    24/01/13 – Preparation of post for thread – 6 minutes

    24/01/13 Consideration of post and previous replies – 18 minutes
    24/01/13 Consideration of Brush v Bower and implications for reply – 24 minutes
    24/01/13 Consideration of Frasceti and implications for reply – 24 minutes
    24/01/13 – Preparation of note for file regarding implications of case law on post – 12 minutes
    24/01/13 – Consideration of issues to raise and preparation of post for thread – 18 minutes
    24/01/03 – Preparation of note for file regarding work undertaken – 6 minutes

  15. Functus Officio

    Realist@4:19pm beat me to it. I never cease to be appalled at the incredibly low standard of grammar,spelling and sytax that appear on this site(or is that sight?).All the more so from people who hold themselves out to be “professionals, the majority of whose work appears in written form. Equally worrying is the lack of comment on this point (over the years of the existance of this Blog) from others in the profession and who contribute to it.To the casual visitor to this site, it could give you all a bad name.

  16. Realist – yes i do. Thanks for the correction.

    Functus Officio – who cares really, you know what i meant!!! Go draft some pointless,time wasting Replies or something! Better still go post on some other blog were someone might actually want to read what you have to say! People like you make me laugh, really they do!!!!

  17. Functus Officio

    Qod erat demonstrandum.To the other bloggers I would have used Q.E.D. ( in respect of a repeat mangle of grammar etc…..)

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