Detailed Assessment of Costs

An Overview of the Detailed Assessment of Costs Process

What is a Detailed Assessment of Costs?

A detailed assessment of costs usually occurs on conclusion of a case to decide the amount a party pays to another regarding their legal costs and disbursements. It can take place between a Solicitor and Client (under the Solicitors Act 1974), if the client challenges the Solicitor’s bill, or between a successful party and unsuccessful party to a case (referred to as an inter-partes costs dispute), to decide how much costs are owed to each party.  In the latter, cases are usually conducted in the County Court or High Court, and the unsuccessful party (paying party) will usually owe costs to the successful party (receiving party).

 

The Detailed Assessment of Costs Process

  • On successful conclusion of the case, the first step for the receiving party is to draw up a Bill of Costs , detailing the costs for any work done in conducting the case, as well as disbursements. The bill should then be served on the paying party alongside a Notice of Commencement to initiate the detailed assessment of costs process.
  • When the paying party has received the Bill of Costs, they should then serve their Points of Dispute within 21 days of service of the Bill, and should also attempt to negotiate the Bill of Costs. If the paying party does not submit any points of dispute, the receiving party can apply for a Default Costs Certificate.
  • If the receiving party do not accept the paying party’s Points of Dispute, they can negotiate further and also prepare and serve Points of Reply within 21 days, thought there are no sanctions for serving these late like with Points of Dispute.
  • If an agreement as to costs cannot be reached, the receiving party should then apply for a detailed assessment hearing, which incurs an additional Court fee (scaled dependant on the Bill value).  It should be noted that parties are encouraged to engage in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) prior to proceeding to an assessment hearing, and a party’s refusal of an offer of ADR will have serious costs consequences as recently determined by the Court of Appeal.

 

  • If costs are agreed, these will be payable within 14 days by default, unless otherwise agreed between the parties.

 

 

Detailed Assessment Hearings

Following an application to the Court for a detailed assessment hearing, a Court Order should be received within 6 weeks, listing the matter for a detailed assessment hearing, or a provisional assessment hearing.

Provisional Assessment Hearing – A matter will be listed for a provisional assessment hearing if the Bill is valued at £75,000 or less. This is usually done on paper with no requirement for parties to attend, however, an oral hearing can be requested if any party wishes to contest the outcome of the paper assessment.  This however, is at extra cost for which the applying party will not recover their costs if they fail to alter the outcome by more than 20%.

Detailed Assessment Hearing – An oral assessment, in which both parties should attend, will be listed if the Bill of Costs is valued in excess of £75,000. It is recommended that a costs specialist is instructed to attend a Detailed Assessment Hearing so that you achieve the best result possible.

 

How Can ARC Costs Assist?

ARC Costs are highly experienced and have been successful in costs recovery in the majority of our dispute resolution cases. We can assist in recovering legal costs by drafting your Bill of costs, as well as Points of Reply and negotiating your Bill of Costs with the other side before advising on whether the claim should proceed to a Detailed Assessment Hearing.

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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