Legal Cost Specialists

Provisional assessment

I’ve uploaded one of my rants on provisional assessment to the Costs Law Articles Archive, first published in the Solicitors Journal.

12 thoughts on “Provisional assessment”

  1. Nice rant.

    I’d add a little bit: The time from lodging to getting a result is supposed to be 6 weeks. All of mine so far have taken 4 to 6 months. And then there is still the extra time after that to deal with whether a party rejects the provisional result. So 6 to 8 months before there is something enforceable in my hand.

    Maybe I’ve been unlucky, but I’d like to know if others are having the same problem.

  2. well deserved rant, but why stop there? why not also say the PA’s are being relegated to boxwork fitted in around urgent hearings, rather than dealt with in time supposedly set aside?
    why not also point out that DJ’s aren’t providing reasons for allowances or reductions, meaning asking for an oral hearing on specified items is a blind leap of faith?
    Or indeed why not say that bills are being so badly presented and Replies unhelpful, that DJ’s simply detest PA’s in their entirety as being unwieldy and time consuming
    and of course lets not mention the fact that certain Courts are already introducing their own PD’s which aren’t in the rules, like the PP having to lodge a costs estimate ahead of the PA, and when they don’t, they get no PA costs even if they win…….

  3. PAs were introduced following a very small trial were those undertaking the PAs deemed they were highly successful. How did they come to this conclusion? because very few people requested an oral rehearing and when they did they seldom got more than a 20% swing either way. funny that not many people want to go back before a judge and tell him he was wrong first time round or on the rare occasions someone does ask for a rehearing the judge makes damn sure they don’t deviate by more than 20% from their original assessment – they are hardly going to decide they were wrong first time round.

    No wonder it was decided PAs are a roaring success.

  4. Costy McBillington

    Before April 2013 there were numerous large paying party law firms, who would employ a gaggle of costs muppets to churn out low quality PODs. They would then employ skilled costs counsel who would paper over the cracks in the PODs and win the Detailed Assessments. Now they are losing more or less every case because the PODs are not worth the paper they are written on. In the words of a Mr. R. McDonald, I’m lovin’ it!

  5. Costy McBillington, people like you are probably the reason our profession has suffered so much over the years! Any true advocate knows your case is only as strong as the facts within it, if you did alot of hearings you would know that most judges dont even read the pods or replies. speaking of McDonalds, thats where you should be working #fixedfeesareherebecauseofpeoplelikeyou

  6. Costy McBillington

    Annonymous – I really have no idea what you’re talking about. I suspect you don’t either. That was my point exactly, Judges didn’t take notice of the written submissions. Now they have to, so poorly drafted PODs are making life very difficult for paying parties. Have a nice weekend you true advocate you.

  7. Lowly Costs Draftsman

    Let us not forget that the provisional assessment limit was increased from £25,000 to the present £75,000 with little fanfare or explanation. I think a lot of the judicial reluctance stems from this. £75,000 is far too high a threshold and assessing a bill of that size ought to be a big task that is not rushed.

    As a more general experience of provisional assessments so far, it is a complete lottery and far moreso that detailed assessments ever were. I’ve seen spectacular victories that were undeserved on one hand and reasonable claims slashed to within an inch of their lives on the other.

    For that reason many of my clients are scared stiff of having a bill assessed and are clambering over each other to settle at the last minute. Perhaps that was the intention all along…

  8. Try lodging one at Birmingham CC and see how long they take to even acknowledge the PA let alone conduct one!!! Or Guildford CC. Try ringing them and see how long it takes to get a reponse. Overriding Objectives! – utter nonsense and entire process is prejudicial!! rant over.

  9. Costs Management Consultant

    The old limit was £25,000.00 excluding additional liabilities. The new limit is inclusive so the pilot did still catch a good number of cases. We ran under the pilot for 3 years with relative success. The process was much faster though. The Courts are clearly swamped and some cases are taking 6 months to get listed.

    Do not shy away from an unreasonable or unfair result. We have been successful on every single request for oral hearing so far (around 5 in total). The difficulty I find is working out exactly what has been allowed on PA as comments are normally only made on the Replies/POD’s document.

    Also – I think it’s a tad unfair that the Claimant’s voice has been almost lost with the restrictions on the Replies. Not helpful to the Court or any of the parties involved.

  10. Costs Management Consultant. Could you answer a query? 1. Do you represent receiving parties? 2. On the cases where you had an oral rehearing did the DJ originally allow costs more or less in line with the PODs or even less than the PODs and then allow more when she/he saw the papers? 3. was it all same dj

  11. Roberto Carassale

    What is the fuss all about? PA is working well.

    1. Secure an early interim payment to assist with cash flow;
    2. Draft your bill well and strip out all non recoverable items;
    3. Make a realistic early part 36 offer;
    4. Provide additional supporting documentation to support your bill when lodging the N258 to assist the Court

    Our local courts are providing detailed explanations on the Precedent G form and some judges even ask for the same to be sent electronically so that they can provide detailed comments. Newcastle CC insists on the file of papers being lodged prior to the PA.

    True – my one niggle is the amount of time spent arguing over PA costs, whether Def calderbank offer beaten and that just isn’t reflected in the £1500 cap but for me at least the system is working just fine leaving the complex bills, rightly so, for DA.

  12. Costs Management Consultant

    King Costs – (1) Yes, (2) Normally more than the POD’s but very occasionally we see individual items which have been allowed at less than offered, (3) Same DJ on all but one occasion and in that case the Oral Hearing proceeded with both parties consent.

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