N260 Statement of Costs in a Serious Injury Case
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ARC Costs were instructed by a Serious Injury Solicitor handling a claim pleaded at up to £2,000,000 in value, to cost their full file of papers and settle an N260 Statement of Costs in advance of a Joint Settlement Meeting (JSM). This was in order to secure an interim payment on account of costs, or to allow an all inclusive settlement to be reached on the day of the JSM.
We received instructions from the Claimant’s legal representatives (the Receiving Party) following the parties’ agreement for a JSM to proceed that was due to take place in September 2021. The case was of a substantial/serious injury nature, and involved a claim pleaded at up to £2 million. ARC Costs had a little over a week to prepare the costs schedule/N260 Statement of Costs, and therefore we urgently arranged for an in-house visit to be arranged. The case involved a child Claimant and dated back to 2007, and as such the file consisted of a composite of extensive paper-based and electronic-based time records and work. We regularly prepare an N260 Statement of Costs in advance of such settlement meetings as often, when settlement is reached, the Paying Party is willing to make an interim payment on account of costs which facilitates cashflow, and also reduces the ongoing burden of interest accruing on outstanding costs.
Analysis & Negotiations
Working on preparing the Schedule of Costs over the course of 3 days, ARC Costs was able to produce a document that totalled in excess of £520,000.
As the matter had been funded by way of a pre-LASPO Conditional Fee Agreement, the Receiving Party was also entitled to claim a non-fixed success fee and ATE insurance premium. The matter remained a pre-issue matter, and we therefore completed checks that the Defendant had been informed of the additional liabilities in the Letter of Claim and/or at the earliest opportunity, to ensure no issues as to recovery arose.
Given the success fee was non-fixed and claimed at 100% in line with the CFA, based on our own risk assessment we considered a success fee of between 50% and 85% would be recovered on assessment. As a non-budgeted matter also, it was likely that any interim payment on account of costs would be around 50 – 60% of the base amount claimed, plus any reasonable additional liabilities. In view of this, we recommended requesting an interim payment of between £246,108 – £292,804. We did not consider any reduction hourly rates would need to be taken into account given the value of pleaded claim, and we considered that the £350ph claimed was appropriate for Grade A fee earners, particularly given the recent increase in guideline hourly rates.
When the matter proceeded to the JSM, damages were settled for a significant undisclosed amount, and the Paying Party Defendant sought to bring the matter to a swift close, including the issue of costs. In view of the same we were tasked with calculating an appropriate valuation and, taking into account the hourly rates claimed, an 85% success fee and appropriate reductions to the profit costs claimed, we calculated a reasonable valuation to be £415,000 – £420,000. A number of offers were exchanged and ultimately, costs were agreed in the sum of £435,000, thus bringing a prompt conclusion to the issues of damages and costs. This represented an 81% recovery for our client, a result with which our client was extremely pleased particularly given that there was a non-fixed success fee claimed.
N260 Statement of Costs
As was demonstrated in this instance, it is always useful when approaching any settlement meeting to instruct a Costs Draftsman/Costs Lawyer to prepare a costs schedule so that in the even of a settlement, a sensible payment on account/all inclusive settlement can be reached.
Under CPR 44.2(8), any Court making an order for detailed assessment will make an order for a reasonable payment on account of costs, unless there is good reason not to do so. It is therefore in the Paying Party’s interest to making an appropriate payment on account once settlement is achieved, otherwise they face the risk of paying the additional costs of an application for such an interim payment to be made. If the matter is pre-issue, such an Order for an interim payment can also be sought as part of any Part 8 issuing process.
In addition, a Form N260 Statement of Costs is required under PD 44 9.5(4) in advance of any application hearing or Fast Track Trial, so as to allow summary assessment of costs to take place where possible (to be filed and served atleast 24/48 hours before the hearing respectively).
It is therefore imperative that in any matter where a conclusion to the central issue in dispute is likely to be reached and/or where an application/final hearing is due to take place, that you ensure you armed with full details of your costs in the form of an N260 Statement of Costs. Failure to do so may lead to a missed opportunity to seek significant payments on account at an early juncture and/or costs consequences for failing to comply with the CPR.
How Can ARC Costs Assist?
ARC Costs are a team of legal costs experts consisting of experienced Costs Draftsman and Costs Lawyers. We regularly represent both paying and receiving parties in costs disputes, and ensure that the best outcome is always achieved for our client. Costs law has become an incredibly complex area of law, and it is imperative that a costs expert is always instructed in relation to any dispute so as to ensure you are maximising your recovery/achieving the best reduction possible.
As an independent party, we bring objectivity to any costs dispute we encounter, and we can handle all aspects of costs queries/disputes. Whether it be providing advice on your initial retainer, settling a Costs Budget or Bill of Costs, conducting negotiations or providing advocacy services in relation to a CCMC or detailed assessment hearing, one of our adept team will be available to facilitate the best outcome possible.
To contact one of the team, call 01204 397302 or send instructions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use the live chat function below, and one of our costs experts will be able to provide an immediate response.