Legal Cost Specialists

Future of costs drafting

Tony Guise, director of GUISE Solicitors writing in Litigation Funding magazine:

“Costs management will mean that detailed assessment is in run off for most if not all cases. The future for costs drafting must be in question.”

28 thoughts on “Future of costs drafting”

  1. Yes i agree with Mr Guise.

    It is entirely feesible that, once budgets have been agreed, all costs schedules will be agreed in advance despite the case never proceeding to a fully contested trial.

    Defendants are going to be so willing to pay up, and Claimant’s have realised that their hayday of milking the system has finally ground to a halt.

  2. And who prepares the budgets Mr Guise?

    Anonymous on May 30th, 2013 7:37 am:

    ‘Defendants are going to be so willing to pay up’ – You have got to be joking, right?

  3. I disagree. I believe that there will still be a need for drafting bills as we know it. If cases settle pre issue then the usual routes for assessment of costs must apply. Bills will need to be drafted, with PODS and replies following.

    The budgets I have dealt with to date have not been agreed between the parties and I can’t see there being much agreement. Costs Lawyers will still have plenty of work to deal with in my view.

  4. I keep saying budgets are great work but getting paid is not so great as most costs draftsmen will have to wait until the end of the case to be paid as solicitors cash flow is already at an all time low with many high street firms struggling! Great if your instructing solicitors are happy to pay by return – unlikely in most cases!!! Be careful and be warned!! Costs Lawyers are great but not as good as law Costs Draftsmen!! Costs Lawyers spend more time cleaning their shiney certificates than in the real world of costs. LOL

  5. I would prefer a costs solicitor than a costs lawyer any day of the week, given the superiority of proper legal training.

    And there are always costs counsel who will, without doubt be the preferred choice for advice and advocacy on anything but the more routine case.

  6. I started do this job over 21 years ago and on the first day the person training me (one of the bosses) said that costs drafting had no future. The same was said after the introduction of the CPR and we have had 14 boom years. So, I have heard it all before………but, I think that the glory days are coming to an end, simply because people who don’t really understand how costs should work are now in control. Court of Appeal = barristers and what do barristers know about costs !

  7. Anyone else enjoying the CL vs CD debate? I am a CL who regularly instructs a CD to attend hearings and only last week he was reduced to a Grade D rate because he was ‘not a qualified costs lawyer’. He was gutted and I was surprised as he is one of the most capable costs specialists I know.

  8. Peter B – I put that one down to quality of advocacy!! LOL. Did your agent explain how a Costs Lawyer qualified!! 1 day training etc! wow best me get qualified then!!

  9. Anon on May 30th, 2013 4:14 pm

    I agree the idea that civil litigation costs can be fairly ‘fixed’ is totally out of touch with the unpredictable nature of issues arising.

    Another even more out of touch concept is the idea that bills of costs can be automated and produced at a click of a button!

  10. The CL v CD debate will always have an element of bias to it.

    I’ve seen some poor candidates at ACL seminars and good costs draftsman as opponents. What I would add, however, is I find that many commercial clients and first tier firms – and let’s be honest, commercial work and high value claims is the preferred workload for many, for obvious reasons – prefer to instruct costs lawyers to prepare their bills.

    Whilst there will be some CD who manage to continue to receive such instructions, it is not unreasonable to expect, in the future, CLs to receive the work. CD do not have the best reputation – usually due to a perceived lack of qualifications and their earning power when compared to solicitors – and I have friends who are recently qualified as solicitors (and one is Grade B) and barristers who are stunned when we compare salaries.

    For what it’s worth, I have found costs counsel and solicitors no better than CLs or CD on a typical detailed assessment. In fact, come of the top CLs essentially act like costs counsel.

  11. I am fed up with the CL/CD debate, we all know that there are good and bad solicitors, good and bad fee earners, good and bad draftsmen, good and bad costs lawyers etc etc etc, take people for what they demonstrate themselves to be, don’t rely on a title!

  12. Love how all parties are forgetting the per budget work is included but not budgeted
    Also, budgets do not take account of part 36 offers, nor do they cater for when and how a case is settled I.e. often part way through several budget stages
    I will great fully accept all defendants accepting the budget and paying up without assessment, idiots!

    Ps the CDvCL argument is become boring, the title confers nothing, it doesn’t effect nor reflect ability, and anyone stupid enough to think otherwise deserves contempt

  13. Bills will still need to be drafted in order to assess the reasonableness of pre action costs and any other costs which have already been incurred. The judge, remember, is not allowed to assess or budget incurred costs. I cannot envisage that a Defendant would be willing to write a check for the sum of the budget where no arguing has taken place as to pre action work, particularly with the changes to proportionality.

    In some cases a smaller schedule might well suffice for pre action work, but what about cases where 3+ years of work has been done prior to the first CMC?

    Change does not mean the end. Those embracing the change will prosper; those who do not, will not.

    The legal profession is a creature of habit and has been notoriously poor at moving with the times. The fact is, there is no longer any choice for any of us, whether you are a solicitor, barrister, costs draftsman or costs lawyer. Nobody has any more experience of the future than anyone else.

  14. I just completed yet another seminar to solicitors on the new rules
    Their lack of understanding of the fundamental change in their work practice FROM DAY ONE when they open a file, is staggering
    Any fool solicitor who dispenses with a draftsman, will not be in practice long term
    Draftsmen with sense, will become case managers for solicitors, really very simple


  16. Well if you want to become a Costs Lawyer, you’ve lost your chance to become one. Entry has been suspended until September 2014, for any new entrants. Is the world for cost drafting so bright, that the ACL feels it needs no more new recruits for 18 months. Or just a case of drawing (:-)) up the ladder to protect it’s current CLs. Maybe the Law Society and Bar should have a moratorium on new training contracts and pupillages as the law is also changing.

  17. ”some Cls act like costs counsel”

    This is true, but not correct at all.

    Some CLs, and in particular one of the supposedly more respectable, city based firm of CLs who deal with a lot of commercial work in the city, include the date they qualified after their name, pretending it is is the same as a barrister.

    For example Joe Bloggs (2007).

    I find this approach highly questionable as it tries to imply that CLs are saying their training is on a par with that of a barrister!

    As said before, CLs or CDs (the same thing) would only ever be instructed on routine assessments in any event, and CLs cannot pretend they are true advocates on a level anywhere near costs counsel!

  18. @ Anonymouse

    ACL membership is being suspended whilst they draw up a new course & redraft materials in light of the changes isn’t it not? The current course is already oudated.

    I’m not sure why there is the need to have the CD v CL debate on every single blog post these days…

    With regard to the actual blog post, I don’t think there was much thought given to the quote itself and it seems to have been posted on the blog to evoke a reaction.

    I know that many solicitors who are actually aware of the new rules already plan to front load the work on their cases to avoid being stuck with inadequate budgets for future costs. It is naive to think that Defendants will just accept the budgeted amounts at the end of a case. On some cases maybe – although they are likely to be the cases where solicitors have underbudgeted in the first place because they have tried to do the job themselves without instructing a specialist Costs Lawyer (draftsman).

  19. Regarding the role of costs lawyers/draftsmen ‘post-budget’, HHJ Simon Brown’s latest offering ( makes for interesting reading. In particular, he says:

    “Recently, I awarded a successful claimant £351k costs to be paid within 14 days after judgment of £4.4m where each phase was completed within a total budget of £359k. An example of good accurate budgeting in a quite substantial case and immaculate control. (A transcript of the judgment in Slick Seatings Systems v Adams anor is being obtained and will be published on BAILII shortly.) There will be no need for the delay and expense of a Detailed Assessment. Your costs lawyer will be redundant at the end of the case and will have proved his worth for his involvement in accurate budgeting at the very beginning. Job done!”

  20. this would be the same HHJ Simon Brown who was just accused of copying text from a parties’ submissions in a judgment !

    If cases go to trial, i can see this happening. However – how many cases go to trial ? The problem of whether each stage of the budget has been exceeded will have dealt with at a DAH on all cases that settle without a trial.

  21. The point is that eventually budgeting will become very simple. Clever firms will keep data and work on averages.The Lawyer will be able to adequately deal with this aspect by him/herself. All costs people will struggle to find work as the Law firms will undertake such tasks. It is then a question of what is left for costs people to do.

  22. Well, if there is no future for costs draftsmen who have not completed the daunting ACL course, I might as well throw away my calculator and retrain.

    Why don’t I train as a burger flipper. I can start my own society – Association of Burger Flippers (ABF) I can trademark the name so nobody else can use the title ‘Burger Flipper’, and then get in touch with Black Letter PR (or its catering equivalent), to whip up a PR coup, a true frenzy of fear amongst the public that using anyone other than a member of the ABF could have serious, serious consequences , but at the same time not mention any substantial evidence to back up my claim. After all, nobody would understand truly how dangerous an unregulated flipper of burgers can be apart from myself, as I would be the only person who had reached the esteemed position of ‘Joe Bloggs, Burger Flipper (2013)’.

    I would now be a professional, and catering companies everywhere would have to take my word for it, because I know more than them about burger flipping and, as like minded professionals, we should stick together and put the squeeze on all unregulated flippers of burgers.

    It doesn’t matter that I don’t have much experience, or that I did not pass the vigorous training and syllabus I am now in the process of setting up for new entrants, at the end of the day all societies started in this way so I would be on some kind of moral crusade, a true saviour to burger eaters everywhere because I really, really care for them and I am the only Burger Flipper in all the land with any integrity.

  23. Dominic Swallow

    @ Anonymous 10.18…

    Sorry can’t resist… Does this mean you have finally ‘flipped’?!?!?!?!?!

  24. Becoming a Burger Flipper already appears that it would carry more clout than being a costs lawyer. Anonymous, Costs Lawyer (2013) jokes!

  25. Anonymous 10.18

    Mr Swallow – no comment although I am taking my medication.

    It doesnt detract from the truth contained within my thinly disguised attack on the questionable nature of the ACL.

    On your website it says not only are you a ”costs lawyer” but you are willing to exercise your right to conduct costs litigation. This is very impressive.

  26. I am a fully trained egg poacher! it took me a whole day of training and now i am the only one self certified to poach an egg!! just Yolking!!!!! Join my association


    Association of Real Sexy eggs

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