Legal Cost Specialists

Senior Courts Costs Office Guide 2013

The Senior Courts Costs Office Guide 2013 has been published (although may not be on the Court website yet). This is the first update since 2006.

It is not a bad starting point for those unfamiliar with the assessment process, and many who should already be familiar would no doubt benefit from reading this.

The Guide contains a number of interesting comments and observations beyond a simple recital of the rules.

No doubt sick already of misconceived applications to strike out Points of Dispute due to a failure to make an open offer when serving them, the Guide states:

“Section 8.3 of Practice Direction 47 requires the paying party, on serving Points of Dispute (see section 6 above) to state in an open letter what sum, if any, that party offers to pay in settlement. If no open offer is made the receiving party may, by letter request one and, if it is still not forthcoming, may, if appropriate, apply to the court for an order compelling compliance with the Practice Direction.”

So, the best a receiving party can hope for is that if a request by letter fails to induce compliance that an unless order will be made.

Unfortunately, the Guide wrongly implies that there is a duty to make an “open offer”. No, the duty is only to state in an open letter “what sum, if any” is being offered. Again, a party is free to state they have no offer to make.

4 thoughts on “Senior Courts Costs Office Guide 2013”

  1. its a “Guide”, not a Statement of the Law.

    I like how Simon picks the bit that he likes (and calls misconceived)supporting his own non-victory he published here a while back (which remains as bizarre a decision as many I’ve heard of), but then denigrates the bit he doesn’t agree with. Interpretation by different people in costs, does NOT make it a statement of Law

    Sorry Simon, I’ll keep this parochial Guide as a reference point only,which is what it only ever was intended to be, and leave you to carry on the good fight making excuses for Defendants who simply wont follow a simple Practice Direction in preference for arguing the toss.Oh yeah, that’s what caused the costs wars and destruction of the profession in the first place……

  2. i say bring on costs war II.

    it is not the breaking but the making of us (making money)

    If it wasnt for people like Simon who, come up with any excuse to get out of paying costs, thereby making costs more and more complicated etc, then demand for our services would be surely down.

    Simon please think about ways you can challenge anything that is going to cause massive uncertainty and a pile up of pending CoA cases. I need the cash as i have my eye on a Ferrari….

  3. This isn’t rocket science. “What sum, if any” means that PP is free to offer £0.00. This is still an offer and complies with the 8.3 requirement.

    Saying that you have “no offer to make” is entirely different from making an offer of £0.00 in the context of “what sum, if any”.

    Perhaps, 6 months after the rules changed, PP just make an offer with service of PODS?

  4. If you offer £0 it may not go down to well with the DJ provisionally assessing the bill who will see this offer at the time he undetakes the assessment.

    Equally making your best offer may result in prejudice if the DJ can see you have clearly compromised from the stated posotion in PODs.

    I would suggest PPs should make an offer but make it clear that offer is for para 8.3 and there is potentially another offer made by PP upon which they may seek to rely at the conclusion of the assessment.

    Realistically you have to be a particularly dim Claimant/Receiving party if you think “guidance” from the Senior Costs Judge in the SCCO will just be ignored.

    First instance decisions in the SCCO are not binding, even in an appeal from a Csots Officer but this has never stopped them being placed on the website and interpeted as though god had ascended from heaven and cast it in stone.

    Stop with the stupid applications asking for PPs to be stoned to death for not making an 8.3 offer already.

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