Costs Draftsperson What Do They Do & How Can They Assist?
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What is a Costs Draftsperson?
A Costs Draftsperson often assists with legal costs recoveries and negotiations between one party and another (after any relief or damages awarded). Often referred to as a Law Costs Draftsman, they can assist either paying or receiving parties in numerous areas of legal matter such as personal injury claims, publicly funded work, commercial litigation and Court of Protection as a few examples. Most inter-partes legal disputes once resolved, invoke the rule of the ‘loser pays the winner their costs’ which are inevitably incurred to fund the litigation. Some proceedings do not however, have a clear winner (such as Legal Aid work) and thus there is a wide range of assistance that a Costs Draftsperson can provide.
A Costs Draftsperson can come into play even at the beginning of a case, advising on retainers and any issues as to proportionality considerations (such as appropriate hourly rates). During litigation itself, costs assistance is likely required to advise on costs budgeting as is required by the Civil Procedure Rules, and on conclusion a Costs Draftsperson will be required to draw up and negotiate any Bill of Costs (for a receiving winning party) or to settle Points of Dispute (as the paying losing party).
What Does a Costs Draftsperson do?
- Inter Partes Costs – These costs are awarded between parties to the proceedings to remunerate fees incurred by a law firm (or by a Litigant in Person). For example, the losing party to the proceedings will usually be required to pay the successful party their costs. If you are the successful party who is entitled to their costs, a costs draftsperson will assist in preparing a detailed Bill of Costs for the costs payable and shall serve this on the paying party. From this, the parties will negotiate on the reasonableness of the costs claim. A Costs Draftsman can undertake these negotiations on your behalf. If you are the Paying Party in the proceedings and have been served with a Bill of Costs (with Notice of Commencement) which you deem to be unreasonable, we can assist in preparing detailed legal Points of Dispute in relation to the excessive items included in the Bill. Whichever side of costs you fall on, we can assist in the detailed assessment process and represent you at any costs related hearings as Costs Lawyers.
- Solicitor/Client Costs – These types of costs will arise between a Solicitor and their Client following legal services having been provided, meaning that costs will be payable by a Client. We often advise Solicitors on the validity of their retainers at the onset of the claim. However, if you are a Client who is required to pay their Solicitor’s costs and you dispute the same, a Costs Draftsperson can assist in disputing solicitor fees which are deemed to be unreasonable or excessive.
- Legal Aid Costs – Where a person’s claim has been publicly funded by the Legal Aid Agency, for example in asylum or family disputes, and this client is awarded their costs on conclusion of proceedings, then those costs will be payable to the Solicitor by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA). Legal Aid costs carry different rates and limits on what can be claimed and a Costs Draftsperson will be able to quantify and recoup these on your behalf.
How Can ARC Costs Assist?
ARC Costs are a costs team of experienced Law Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers with over 20 years’ experience in costs. As independent experts, we can assist either Receiving or Paying Parties in all manner of costs disputes.
We can assist throughout the entire lifecycle of any legal dispute, whether it is advising on the initial retainer, formulating costs budgets or preparing/dispute the Bill in a matter. Whilst some costs disputes may proceed to Court for assessment, we seek to resolve all matters via Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) where possible.
Our Costs Lawyers are regulated by the Costs Lawyers Standards Board and are therefore held to the highest standards. As regulated individuals, Costs Lawyers also have rights of audience and they can provide representation at both detailed assessment hearings and CCMCs.
In order to maintain our regulation, our Costs Lawyers are required to undertake continued professional development meaning we are always up to date with the most recent case law and regulations surrounding costs. This gives us an advantage in being able to provide training to anybody interested in learning more about costs or in providing legal advice on any costs queries.
If you require our assistance in anything relating to costs or wish to discuss your costs query further with any expert, you may contact the team via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or directly by phone on 01204 397302. Alternatively, you may complete our online enquiry form and a costs expert will contact you.
Postal instructions can also be sent to our registered office at 4 Bark Street East, Bolton, BL1 2BQ.