Legal Cost Specialists

Costs budgeting and new bill of costs format

Approval has recently been given to the new J-Codes. These are integral to future case management software that will be used for drafting of costs budgets, costs schedules and bills of costs. As the Jackson Final Report stated, the purpose of the new software included the ability to “automatically generate schedules for summary assessment or bills for detailed assessment as and when required”.

The new bill of costs format (the development of the J-Codes being a necessary part of the process) has yet to be finalised and most commentators expect this to be at least 12-18 months before it will be rolled out.

The new bill of costs format will mirror the various phases that appear within costs budgets. It will therefore be possible to see at a glance (in theory) whether there has been an overspend in any phase.

Unfortunately, we have a further 12-18 months where this is not possible. The process of trying to determine from a bill drafted in the current format whether costs are above or below an approved budget is painful and time-consuming at best and impossible at worst.

Lord Justice Jackson always envisaged that his proposals were a complete package to be implemented in full. Sadly, the problems caused by the piecemeal introduction of costs budgeting and the new bill of costs format is a prime example of what was always likely to happen if this was not followed through.

9 thoughts on “Costs budgeting and new bill of costs format”

  1. I fear that the ACL are dealing with the implementation of J Codes and new format bill similarly to how the Law Society have dealt with the Jackson Reforms and the Lord Chancellor.
    See the following link from the ACL in particular paragraph 6, comforting ?

    Does the ACL members agree to J Codes ?
    I know that its Chairperson does:-
    And as for the drafting team for the Jackson Review EW-UTBMS Code Set Development Project, half of the team work for one company.

  2. Whilst we’re all aware that the current bill is useless where comparison to an approved budget is required, surely a system fundamentally based on a fee earner’s ability to record time is fatally flawed. In 25 years I’ve yet to come across a file where every item is recorded.
    Such a heavy reliance on case management/billing systems may well take out the human element/art of drafting a bill to properly reflect the work done.
    In short, turkeys voting for christmas again! God bless the ACL

  3. That’s why the only way to do this is by costing in phases.

    If a budget why would you not? It would either be to hide something or laziness

  4. CLowns queueing to kill themselves off??

    Hope you are all eagerly awaiting my 1st book on the subject, “The Stupidest Profession”

  5. “If a budget why would you not? It would either be to hide something or laziness”

    Or to comply with the current rules…

  6. The rules provide for splitting bills where it assists. Therefore if you don’t split your not assisting and not complying.

    The old precedent is from pre budget period. If judge orders the bill to be redrawn and wasted costs are you going to ask your client to pay?

  7. Northern Costs Monkey

    There’s a post on the ACL forum stating these new bills are coming out in October. That can’t be right, can it? Simon- can you find out?

  8. A helpful tip when the cost market is wiped out in 12 months time:

    All cost lawyers must remember to include their cost lawyers qualification in their CV along with any swimming badges obtained in the scouts.

    I just feel sorry for the trainee cost lawyers who will have to pay back their training course/exam fees when they are made redundant.

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