CPR Points of Dispute Struck Out for Being “Broad Brush”



In the case of Tudor v Dean & Anr, a Regional Costs Judge made the decision to strike out a paying party’s CPR Points of Dispute as they used “broad brush replies” instead of identifying specific items or outlining the nature of the grounds for their dispute. To understand the decision in this case, it is important to understand the CPR rules regarding points of dispute (Precedent G).


Drafting CPR Points of Dispute

Practice Direction 47.8 states that:

“Points of dispute must be short and to the point. They must follow Precedent G in the Schedule of Costs Precedents annexed to this Practice Direction, so far as practicable. They must:

(a) identify any general points or matters of principle which require decision before the individual items in the bill are addressed; and

(b) identify specific points, stating concisely the nature and grounds of dispute.

Once a point has been made it should not be repeated but the item numbers where the point arises should be inserted in the left hand box as shown in Precedent G.”

Points of dispute should be served by the paying party onto the receiving party within 21 days from the date of service. Points of dispute are used by the paying party to contest any legal costs claimed by the receiving party within their bill of costs. Some of the main items that can be disputes include counsel and expert fees, rates charged by the solicitor for time spent working on the case (hourly rates) and proportionality of costs to damages.


Tudor v Dean & Anr 


In the case of Tudor v Dean & Anr, the paying party raised points of dispute which challenged the costs claimed within the bill for the pre-action phase, the issue/statement of case phase and the CMC phase.

The receiving party put the paying party on notice that they would seek to have the points of dispute struck out as the points made no attempt to outline the nature of the dispute, or to identify any specific items to be disputed.

The costs Judge stated the following in relation to the case;

“The question is, have the respondents done enough in their points of dispute? I am satisfied that they have not. They were even put on notice as to the shortcomings of the points of dispute and the replies. Still they did nothing.

“A party has the right to know the case they have to answer. That has only been addressed by broad-brush replies. Such responses are completely unhelpful, particularly in a case where the amounts involved are of such importance to the claimant.”

The Judge also cited the ruling in Ainsworth v Stewarts Law, stating the following;

“General points and matters of principle which require consideration before individual items in the bill are addressed should be identified, and the specific points made stating concisely the nature of the grounds of dispute. This has not been done…”

“Common sense dictates that the points of dispute must be drafted in a way which enable the parties and the court to determine what is in dispute and why. That is the very purpose of such a document.”

“It is necessary in order to enable the receiving party to be able to reply to the complaint. It is also necessary in order to enable the court to deal with the issues raised in a manner which is fair, just and proportionate.”

The Judge struck out the CPR Points of dispute and said:-

“There has been an abject failure in this matter by the respondent to comply with this requirement.”

The judge also allowed an overspend on the costs budget of nearly £100,000. The Judge stated that he was:

“persuaded that the facts of the witness statements and the submissions, as well as the documents, show there was good reason to exceed the budget, but not by as much as is claimed in each phase”.


Closing Thoughts


The decision in the case of Tudor v Dean & Anr highlights the importance of complying with the Court’s rules and practice directions as costs consequences are likely if these rules are ignored. It is for this reason that we would recommend a legal costs specialist is employed to draft compliant CPR points of dispute or any other legal costs documents to avoid sanctions from the Court if mistakes are made.


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How Can ARC Costs Assist?


At ARC Costs, our experienced costs team of Costs Lawyers and draftsmen ensure that the best outcome is achieved. If you are the paying party, we can ensure your points will be compliant with the CPR and practice directions. We will ensure the following on every case:  

  • Points of Dispute (Precedent G) prepared within 7 days of instruction
  • Advice provided on reasonable settlement brackets
  • Provision of an additional negotiations service where requested to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome
  • Fixed fees for all preparatory work so you know where you stand
  • Assistance provided to Litigants in Person on best practices and the detailed assessment procedure 

If you are the receiving party, we can also assist by preparing your bills of costs or negotiating your costs further by drafting points of reply in response to points of dispute.

We can be contacted via email at info@arccosts.co.uk, or by telephone on 01204 397302. For more information on legal costs, please find out more about our speciality areas of expertise and our services on our legal costs page.


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