Legal Cost Specialists

Provisional assessment

The draft amendments to the CPR implementing Jackson state that provisional assessment will apply to all detailed assessment proceedings commenced in the High Court or a county court on or after 1 April 2013 where the amount claimed is £75,000 or less.

The court will not award more than £1,500 to any party in respect of the costs of the provisional assessment.

Even at Grade D rates that’s a maximum of a little under 13 hours work (rather less if the instructing solicitor has any input at a higher hourly rate and it is actually not clear from the draft rules as to whether the £1,500 is even meant to include any VAT). Not very much for what are sometimes fairly lengthy bills, particularly once additional liabilities are stripped out.

Efficiency will rule. There will be no room for protracted negotiations. Make your best offer at the outset.

Although, at that price it might be worth running rather more cases to assessment.

13 thoughts on “Provisional assessment”

  1. Truly Eminent Costs Professional

    Do you know where this has been published and, if so, can you provide a link?

    This is really going too far – i thought the limit was going to be £25k!

  2. Truly Eminent Costs Professional

    Also there must a court fee within the ‘costs of provisional assessment’, which will diminish recoverable fees even more….

  3. I suspect that I am one of the few Costs Lawyers who have had the pleasure of an oral review of a Provisionally Assessed bill in the Pilot. Quite frankly it was a shambles. The Non Regional Costs Judge who conducted the hearing had no recollection of what documents he had seen, had not made any notes of why he had reduced items in the bill and we ended up going away to make written representations with him then having to give a written Judgment. If this is to happen in the future then only RCJs should be allowed to to it.In fact lets petition MOJ for Regional Costs Offices as an offshoot of SCCO. I suspect your average DJ will be aghast at the prospect of being overun with Bills of up to £75k to assess.

  4. Surely Defendants should be making best offers Simon at the outset pre Jackson not just post Jackson. OOps, yes of course Defendants need to drag the case out if they are on staged fees and make sure they do Points of Dispute every time to get that extra fee! Silly me thought for a minute Defendants had actually heard of the Overriding Objectives!! If Defendants had any idea how insurers set aside reserves and decide whether to outsource you would start getting a grip now!!!

    Roll on fixed fees and insurers taking matters back inhouse! you Defendants must be costing them a fortune!

  5. I was actually referring to both sides needing to make their best offer at the outset.

    As those with experience of “negotiating” with me will know, my fist offer is almost invariably the best and only offer made. It is claimant solicitors and claimant costs draftsmen who, in my experience, invariably drip feed offers and then settle for a figure below their stated “best offer”.

  6. With respect, you must have very limited experiance/knowledge of your competitors Simon. We claimant people know exactly who i am talking about. Love it! we make loads of money out of them!

    By the way, is that Simon’s best offer or Simon’s client’s best offer!! Often the two will of course conflict! who wins!!! Defendant costs negotiators i am talking about are just the “rats tail” of the legal profession who do nothing but drag the claim out and cause further costs to be incurred!

  7. As somebody who acts for both paying and receiving parties, in my experience both sides are as bad as each other for making silly offers.

    You get the odd costs draftsman who actually makes a sensible offer from the outset, but most of the time the first offer(s) will be something completely unjustifiable that serves no other purpose than wasting time, and therefore money.

    To be honest I’m not entirely sure how our profession is taken seriously by anybody in other branches of the legal sector.

  8. I had heard this too but haven’t seen the draft rules and PDs (although understand they’re published the 2nd week in Feb).

    See Part 4 (pages 3-5) of the 8th implementation lecture at

    £75K is another instance of tinkering (tampering?) with Jackson’s recommendations. My own experience of this (DJ Hill) was pretty awful too 🙁

    And whilst £1500 (which I understand is to be exclusive of Court fee and VAT) might be a OK for a £25K bill, for a £75K one it’s risible.

  9. I don`t really understand all this “best offers first” business.

    I never include anything in PoD which I would not be prepared to defend before the Senior Costs Judge.

    So my first offer is always in accordance with the reduction made by the PoD.

    Simples!! (and logical)

  10. Under the new draft CPR, provisional assessment will be the new CPR 47.15.
    The new CPD, paragraph 14.1 provides that the figure for CPR 47.15(1) (i.e. the amount of costs under which any County Court or High Court bill shall go through provisional assessment) is £75,000.
    I’m not sure what Simon’s source is, but he seems spot on and what he says is in the new rules(subject, of course, to the risk that things might change between now and publication).
    I appreciate that the MOJ doesn’t want to release the new rules and PD until it has finalised them (though not why it has left it so late) but fail to understand why they can’t at least publicise something like this which will clearly have a big impact and which appears to be completely decided.
    Instead it is left to leaks and rumours.

    Good way to run a civil justice system.

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