Legal Cost Specialists

Further delay to new Bill of Costs format

The mandatory pilot scheme in the Senior Courts Costs Office for the new J-Codes based bill of costs format had been due to start in April but was then delayed until October 2016. It has now been announced that this date has also been abandoned for further consideration.

Part of the impetus for this appears to have come from the Law Society who wish to consult with their members. (The Law Society can hardly be blamed for this. Jackson only recommended a new software based bill of costs in December 2009 and so this will have come as quite a surprise to them.)

For the time being, we are left with a continuing potential gap between budgeted cases and bills of costs that do not properly reflect those budget phases. The recent “summary by phase” requirement is wholly inadequate as an interim measure.

The conspiracy to make the Jackson reforms unworkable continues.

16 thoughts on “Further delay to new Bill of Costs format”

  1. Perhaps the top echelons of costs judiciary are imminently retiring and have encouraged the delay to escape the inevitable misery that is the new format bill of costs!!

  2. shame so many of you don’t read all legal press news

    fixed costs are coming for the majority of cases draftsmen presently handle

    people bought, hook line and sinker, all the talk of budgets, electronic bills etc preserving the draftsmans profession; some even assisted in the delay,whilst the final intended goal was brought about. There was no “conspiracy”

    the “game” is up

  3. Northern Costs Monkey

    I doubt we will ever see the truly horrendous new model format bill of costs in action. Hopefully, it will be shelved, and replaced with a practical solution, such as the suggestion by ANON @ 9:44.

  4. I have been reading this blog on and off over the years and predicted 4 years ago that the harbingers of doom were incorrect and costs work would increase and not decrease.

    In fact ever since I started working in costs (many years ago) fixed costs have always been predicted but never happended except some routine work.

    I will give a further prediction that in 5 years time with or without fixed costs for routine cases work would still have increased.

    The gift to the costs profession is the greedy paying parties themselves.

    It reminds me of people who are so tight they will do anything not to spend money in a particular situation and end up having to pay more money.

    For example not fixing roof for hundreds of pounds and then suddenly it collapses costing thousands.

    I will comment on here is 5 years time to remind everyine I am right.

  5. ANONY – I make you right. I still receive as many referrals as I did pre-LASPO. The argument is now over disbursements or what level of fixed costs applies. Premature issue arguments are as abundant as ever. The only work that has noticeably reduced is the drafting of hourly rate bills, which, if I am being honest, was the only part of the job I disliked.

  6. I have seen a few bills now that are split into phases. The bills are absolutely huge compared to what they would have been and it is impossible to work out if the costs are reasonable or not. I thought the whole working out “are these costs reasonable and/or recoverable or not?” was the raison d’etre for inter partes bills.

    Putting costs into 20 parts (or 10 parts split into two as per suggestion in BP) and making sense of it is hard work. Add to that the complexity of working out if time spent communicating with the claimant was reasonable when the same letter probably fell into 4 phases and the total communications are spread across 20 parts (or more if there is any other reason to split the bill of costs) and you have a format that is not fit for purpose.

    How a non costs specialist district judge is going to deal with these type of bills on provisional assessment will be interesting.

    I do not believe there is a conspiracy to push us towards fixed costs but I am starting to hope for the day all costs are fixed or inter partes costs banned to end this death by a thousand ill though out ideas.

  7. Agreed lots of work still available for ‘kitchen table’ cost draftsman, not enough work though to fill the cost factories.

  8. Fixed is fixed, do you need a costs draftsmen to calculate or recover fixed costs or disbursements? = No.

    Do you need a costs draftsmen to prepare your budget when your case management system can do it more or less with a bit of tweek/manual input? = No

    Do you need a costs draftsmen when most hearings are provisional, most budgeted cases won’t need a detailed assessment and Counsel can often do them cheaper and attain a like for like or better result? = No

    My first ever boss told me never work anywhere where you know you can’t justify your own cost (salary), so for those people out there regularly dealing with fixed costs disputes and hourly rate in fast track and low value multi track cases, oh and using excel to create make believe budgets, no that doesn’t make you a costs draftsmen that makes you an admin person.

    Can’t help but feel that most costs people have been and continue to be short sighted, not so long ago costs people with around 5 years exp (even less) commanding approx £40k p/a, (they probably could do with 40 slaps across the chops).

    All of these old timers saying there still will be a future for us? maybe for a small few remaining in house teams or those costs firms who deal with the right profile of work, but for the rest prepared to be folded into credit control or to re-train doing something worthwhile.

  9. Some good news – Our IT company has just installed the new electronic copy of the bill of costs on our system. We have provided free training to all our client’s regarding J codes and the format of the bill. This is a game changer we are ahead of the competition.

    Does anyone know when the launch date for the new bill is?

  10. @killthatnoise

    well said!

    if you listen carefully, you can already hear the sound of the “big cost houses” quietly groaning under the weight of outlay, with dwindling incomes, and no clue how to replace it as all their (client) eggs are in a PI basket now holier than [insert name of your religious icon here]

  11. @ King of Costs

    You may jest, but have you read the 08.01.16 “sponsors news” section post of Litigation Futures………

  12. I do not jest.

    J codes are the future, I completely agree. Once a case is settled you will simply press ‘control and p’ and a bill of costs on a hourly rate will be drawn up in a matter of seconds.

    You then place said bill of costs in the bin and refer to your fixed costs table for your entitlement to costs…

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