Legal Cost Specialists

Drafting bills of costs

By on Sep 24, 2014 | 7 comments

PD 47 para.5.8 states:

“Where it is necessary or convenient to do so, a bill of costs may be divided into two or more parts”

It is difficult to conceive a more necessary or convenient situation then where, due to the transitional provisions, part of the costs will be subject to the old proportionality test and part will be subject to the new Jackson test.

Why then do some law costs draftsmen fail to do this?

How is a judge on assessment meant to apply the correct tests where the bill is not clearly split?

Should applications be made to compel such bills to be re-drafted? Alternatively, should the judge just adopt a robust broad-brush approach and apply the new test to all costs claimed (with the receiving party having nobody but themselves to blame for not having drafted the bill properly)?


  1. “Should the Judge just adopt a robust broad brush approach”

    Are you kidding! In virtually every PÅ I have seen, DJs don’t give the time of day for a thing Claimants do, and simply adjust rate and documents time. Robust? Don’t make me laugh


    24th September 2014

  2. I also have it on good authority that currently Bills of Costs do not
    need be split/drafted phase by phase not with standing the making of a CMO.
    As to how the court would then deal with a genuine CPR 3.18 dispute is anyone’s guess!
    Strange but true!


    24th September 2014

  3. nobody takes any notice of the subtle difference anyway particularly in smaller matters,negotiators aren’t raising it and even the SCCO is not rejecting bills not properly split, it is only really likely to be relevant in a big bill and even then there is likely to be little work after 1/4/13 if it has run for some time, also pre 1/4/13 bills/work will soon run it’s course

    Brian Varney

    24th September 2014

  4. The courts have no time to deal with such issues and show little interest, they just try to deal with what is presented as best they can in the space of an hour.

    I had a case in Leeds cc for PA recently and despite the costs being disproportionate (RTA, LNID, damages c£15k, costs c£45k) the judge just wrote a hand written notation stating ‘costs proportionate’. He did then go on to reduce the bill by £10k but I wanted more.

    I have also noticed that despite receiving war and peace in the replies to points of dispute which should be limited to points of principle and threatening applications that the court does not care. Only the SCCO has stated they were unecessary and the costs should be paid by the reciving party, other courts have simply offered give or take £1,000 for DA costs irrespective of the work put in / size of the bill.

    The cost crusader

    24th September 2014

  5. Apathetic disputes and replies begat apathetic decisions.


    25th September 2014

  6. The theme of this post must equally apply to Points of Dispute where I am receiving the same which do not correspond to my split bill and simply lump everything together, or even more baffling fail to split their offers between fee earners or work type!

    Genuinely staggering!

    Father Costsmas

    25th September 2014

  7. “The courts have no time to deal with such issues and show little interest, they just try to deal with what is presented as best they can in the space of an hour”.

    Usually several months after it gets sent to them.

    Possibly a different rant entirely, possibly part of the problem.

    Money for Nothing

    25th September 2014


  1. CIVIL PROCEDURE, COSTS & SANCTIONS: LINKS TO RECENT ARTICLES AND POSTS | Civil Litigation Brief - […] GWS make some interesting observations on splitting bills in Drafting Bills of Costs […]

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