Legal Cost Specialists

New court fee for provisional assessments?

If all bills valued up to £75,000 are to be subject to provisional assessment there will presumably need to be new court fee introduced. The current fee payable for requesting a detailed assessment for a bill where the costs claimed are between £50,000 to £100,000 is £980. Hearings for bills of that size can easily last a full day or more.

Given provisional assessments take place on paper and with very limited (at least under the provisional assessment pilot) documentation before the court, the judicial time required to undertake a provisional assessment is a fraction of that for a full detailed assessment.

Presumably the new fees will be set at an appropriately modest level.

If not, here is something else to worry about. The wording of the draft CPR amendments that I have seen read:

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

The term “costs” is obviously wide enough to include both the court fee and VAT. It does not say refer to “recoverable fees” or make any mention of court fees being payable in addition.

If the court fee is not reduced in time for April 2013, and VAT is included in the figure, that leaves £433.33 profit costs for dealing with bill of costs up to £75,000.

You couldn’t make it up.

This is clearly a drafting oversight but has it/will it be amended in the published rules (apparently due in the second week in February)?

12 thoughts on “New court fee for provisional assessments?”

  1. Truly Eminent Costs Professional

    I have heard murmerings it doesnt include the Court Fee or VAT. If it does this obviously benefits the the paying party, although it appears the default position is that the receiving party will be entitled to their pa costs (as with the established principle for da costs). Kerching!!

  2. sorry for pointing out the obvious, but what DA costs will a Claimant have? The onus is on the Defendant to make the offer and draw the PODs. Replies are restricted post April, and frankly in most cases wont be needed at all. All a claimant will have to do is assess the offer against the PODs, and either accept it or lodge the bill for PA. £433.33?? sounds about right to me

  3. Perhaps its me …….

    but are you really expecting a receiving party to let a deputy DJ with a background in family law to undertake a provisional assessment on a £70k bill without having a fully pleaded position – that would be commercial suicide.

    Likewise the Def’s will have to fully expand their arguments. no more “excessive as I say it is….”

    You will not be getting cut down Replies on a Provisional Assessment

  4. annon, with due respect, you should really read the new rules coming in for content of PoDs and the restricted circumstances in which Replies are needed and acceptable
    Please feel free to Plead all you like, it will do you no good at all methinks

  5. @annon – yes indeed they would be – expected publication 08.02.13 – but already widely reported, including on this very blog
    unwise to ignore those whilst considering the proposed cap on costs for PA?

  6. rumoured or reported?

    let’s see the text of the provisions and where it says its going up to 75 k

    not saying it will not happen but 75k is a big step up

  7. Re annon’s last comment.
    For reasons I won’t explain, I have a copy of the as yet unpublished draft rules and pd in front if me. The new figure is indeed £75, 000.
    I dare say a few bits will change between now and final publication, but I doubt this will.
    This is coming – and will hit in less than 2 months. Rather than hoping it isn’t I think the better course is to look at the comments of people like Simon as to what it’s going to mean and what to watch out for.
    Ps. Quite why the MOJ can’t just publish the drafts, with all the caveats as to them not being finalised, so everyone can prepare properly I don’t know.

  8. @annon 01.02.13 6:39 read the news; listen tou your peers here; read Litigation Futures today. We all knew the rules coming in, why blinker yourself to the bit of news you dont like!

  9. to Anonymous at 10:15? please explain how I am blinkered?

    My how point was that someone told me to read the rules as to what was and wasnt allowed in PODs / Replies. I was trying to make the point that the Rules had not been published

    I fail to see how anything that I have said is blinkered. My only point is that for a significant proportion we dont know what is coming

    I do lots of reading – the article you refer to was published today, a few days after my post ……

  10. I wonder what will happen about costs of a Part 8 costs-only claim – in cases where a substantive claim is settled without the need for proceedings to be issued. The court fee alone is £45. It appears that the court will be permitted to award such costs on top of the award of £1500 for provisional assessment; whether they actually will do so is, however, another matter.

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