Legal Cost Specialists

Mandatory optional replies

I recently received an Order for costs from Cardiff County Court in costs only proceedings with, what appears to be, standard directions including:

“The Claimant do within 21 days of service of the points of dispute, file and serve upon the Defendant replies to the points of dispute.”

In so far as replies are optional, why does this court issue standard directions requiring them in all cases? (Level of costs claimed such that it will be subject to provisional assessment.)

10 thoughts on “Mandatory optional replies”

  1. because it is the Courts right to proportionately case manage, and this is designed to narrow the issues

    if the receiving party has not taken up the “option” of assisting the Court, this Order is perfectly understandable

  2. If there are genuine reasons for the receiving party not wishing to file and serve Replies, I would have thought that a simple letter to the Court to state that would suffice.

    That being said, I would guess that any receiving party who didn’t file and serve Replies in a matter which falls to be provisionally assessed would be putting themselves at a distinct disadvantage.

    I suppose it is a relic of the previous costs regime and a reminder that the parties should exhaust all avenues of negotiation before asking the Court to determine costs.

  3. In my experience, and as we all know, it has always been about keeping costs to a minimum.

    Serving replies only helps to narrow the issues and speed up any potential assessment.

    The only reason for not doing so is pure bone idleness!

  4. Well they could also be extremely confident in their file – sometimes solicitors can be very good you know

    Or conversely perhaps the PODs are so poor they did not feel the need to respond

    In such circumstances why should they be compelled to serve Replies? They are optional and by compelling them to serve they are reducting their profit margin on the PA scheme

  5. @ annon

    Reducing profit margin? That sits well with your duty to the Court! Aside from which, how else do you justify any PA costs let alone £1500.00 if you just read the PODs then set down?

  6. @ Anonymous

    I agree for the most part they should be done

    However please see the scenarios I detailed. How does me saying No this was suitable for a Grade B as opposed to a Grade C as offered narrow the issues for the court (and this is disregarding the issue as to whether it is a point of principle)

    My point is I can see some limited scenarios whereby the Replys will add nothing to the file or which the judge cannot conclude from a good narrative

    Re profitability – DA costs invariably get reduced and normally the biggest aspect of that is the Replies. Therefore its better to be preparing a Bill in that time in my humble opinion

    If your DA costs are time for neg’s and time for the N258 papers there really is little scope for reduction and so your profitability is higher

  7. I’ll post this here as its most current – sorry its off topic

    CPR (amendment no 7) comes in 01.10.13

    it clarifies at rule 22, that cases remaining in CPR 47.15, will attract a maximum fee of £1500.00, PLUS VAT and relevant Court fee.

    Now we just need to deal with the idiots saying drawing a bill is included in this :-/

  8. Charles Wheatcroft

    Anonymous on August 15th, 2013 9:20 am – I think it is pretty clear now (or will be in Ocotober).

    Now that it has been clarified, the limit is fairly unremarkable. It’s a pity the choice of words wasn’t clear from the outset…


    22. In rule 47.15, for paragraph (5) substitute—

    “(5) In proceedings which do not go beyond provisional assessment, the maximum amount the court will award to any party as costs of the assessment (other than the costs of drafting the bill of costs) is £1,500 together with any VAT thereon and any court fees paid by that party.”.

  9. Charles, if it is pretty clear now ( and I agree with you) then someone needs to tell the Paying Parties, including the lovely host of this blog, whom persist in arguing its inclusive

    I mean, who ever heard of paying parties taking frivilous and vexation interpretations of their own??

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