Legal Cost Specialists

Breakdown of costs by phase

The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 4) Rules 2015, coming into force on 1st October 2015, introduces an amendment of CPR 47.6 as to the documents to be served when commencing detailed assessment proceedings:

“8. In rule 47.6, in paragraph (1) –

(a) at the end of sub-paragraph (a), omit “and”; and

(b) at the end of sub-paragraph (b), insert -“; and

(c) if a costs management order has been made, a breakdown of the costs claimed for each phase of the proceedings”.”

About time to, although would it not have been simpler to require the bill to be drafted in different parts for each phase of the proceedings? As it is, there no doubt will remain scope for argument as to how detailed a “breakdown” needs to be. Although this comes in on 1st October 2015, parties are unlikely to receive a sympathetic reception from the courts if they serve bills before that date that are not accompanied by such a breakdown or drafted by phase.

14 thoughts on “Breakdown of costs by phase”

  1. Costs Draftsman

    If the rule doesn’t come in until 1st October then what right do the Court or paying party have to grumble if bills served before that date don’t contain a breakdown? Likewise there is currently no rule that requires bills to be drafted by phase so receiving parties should not be held to account when they are not drafted in such a way. It’s not their fault that the rules regarding budgeting are so weak and vague.

  2. Master Gordon-Saker

    Thank you Simon. Any consequential amendments to PD 47 and any model breakdown would come in a PD making document, rather than in an SI. Para 5.8 of PD 47 already provides that a bill of costs “may be divided into two or more parts” “where it is necessary or convenient to do so”. You may well think that service of a breakdown will not affect the need to comply with para 5.8 when drafting a bill in a case where a budget has been approved or agreed.

  3. Northern Monkey

    I had thought that as from the 1st October 2015, the new Bill of Costs/ J Codes format was to be a pilot ran via SCCO cases only?

  4. Thanks Simon very helpful. Any readers should also note that there is a new version of the Guidance Notes for completing Precedent H and a new N260. Spot the error on the Guidance Note!!!!

  5. Having recently prepared PODs for a bill drawn to reflect budget phases, I believe preparing a breakdown to go with a “traditional” style bill, as will be required, is a much better option. It may sound logical to split the bill into phases to reflect the budget phases, but when you also have the bill split into parts to reflect 2 VAT rates, pre and post 1/4/13 proportionality, and incurred and future costs (as per the budget) what would have been a 10 part bill (to reflect the 10 phases) becomes a 40 part bill.

    The analysis required to see just how much time has been spent on a particular task or item of work is far more difficult and time consuming. Had the bill been prepared as a 3 or 4 part bill it would have been easier for the paying party to analyse and more importantly easier for a Judge to assess. I pity the poor Judge who will have to assess the one in question if we cannot settle. The breakdown would have been sufficient to demonstrate how the costs claimed reflect the Precedent H.

  6. The rule does not say that bills of costs have to be drafted in phases but that in addition to the bill of costs there must be breakdown of costs into phases where there has been a Costs Management Order.

    That said it seems pretty pointless to have two breakdowns of costs though. Why not just go the whole hog and say draw bills of costs in line with costs budgets. Which rocket scientist thought it would be a good idea to have one format for costs budgets and another format for when the costs budgets are assessed with it being virtually impossible to cross reference the two.

  7. Northern Monkey

    So basically this breakdown is just going to be an additional document annexed to the bill? Say for instance it’s a bill that has £7k profit costs, the document is just going to list for example “£1.5k pre action, £1k issue pleadings, £1k CMC, £0.5k disclosure, £0.5k witnesses, £1k experts, £1k settlement” and so on? Isn’t that the sort of thing that could just be entirely made up ad- hoc, and will basically be a load of pointless cr@p?

  8. Northern Monkey

    Here’s a thought: why not just file the first page of a re- worked Precedent H with the Bill, making sure the total figure at the end tallies up with the profit costs and disbursements you have charged on the bill, and use that as the breakdown of each phase?

  9. what is up with everyone? It’s not remotely difficult to fulfil your overriding duty to the COURT, to draw the final bill, the same way you should have costed it for the budget i.e. in phases

    Perhaps the answer, is in all these people who make the budgets up, without properly costing it, yet still charge a fee. That would also explain why certain firms then cant get the budget anywhere near the bill; and then try to cover up why


    Gary Stevens @ August 3, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Many thanks for pointing out the Precedent H guidance notes have been amended. However, if you go to the Court website, whilst indeed under “Take Notice” at the top it informs us that the Precedent H guideline notes have been amended with immediate effect, it does not provide any link to the same.

    Are you able to post a link to the altered guideline notes?

    Many thanks for your assistance.

  11. Northerncostsmonkey – The amended Guidance Note is at the bottom of PD3E. That is the amended version. Subtle amendments when you compare it to the old one!

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