Legal Disbursements and Recovery of the Same


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What Are Legal Disbursements?

Legal disbursements refer to additional charges and costs incurred by the solicitor on behalf of a client for goods and services relating to a legal case. The types of legal disbursements which may apply to a case will vary based on the facts of the case and the type of the matter.

For example, if you were buying a house, your Conveyancing Solicitor may incur disbursements in relation to land registry fees, local authority search fees, or bank transfer fees. In a conveyancing matter, these costs will be payable by you alongside the solicitor’s fees.

In the instance of a case relating to Personal Injury, fees such as Court fees and expert witness fees will qualify as disbursements. A law firm will incur these legal disbursements initially, and the recoverability of the same will vary based on the facts of the case.

A Solicitor may charge VAT on disbursements, which should clearly be shown within the invoice.


Recoverability of Legal Disbursements


The issue of what can be treated as a disbursement and the recoverability of the same will vary based on the facts of the case.

In a personal injury claim, the recoverable amount for a disbursement will vary based on whether the matter falls within the fixed costs regime or whether costs are to be assessed on the standard basis.

If fixed costs apply, the amount of legal disbursements which can be recovered is set as per CPR 45.19 (2A):

“(2A) In a soft tissue injury claim to which the RTA Protocol applies, the only sums (exclusive of VAT) that are recoverable in respect of the cost of obtaining a fixed cost medical report or medical records are as follows—

(a) obtaining the first report from an accredited medical expert selected via the MedCo Portal: £180;

(b) obtaining a further report where justified from an expert from one of the following disciplines—

(i) Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon (inclusive of a review of medical records where applicable): £420;

(ii) Consultant in Accident and Emergency Medicine: £360;

(iii) General Practitioner registered with the General Medical Council: £180; or

(iv) Physiotherapist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council: £180;”

The amount of recoverable legal disbursements in a fixed costs case will again vary depending on if the case is an EL/PL matter or an RTA claim.

As most of the disbursements are set and fixed in a fixed costs claim as per CPR 45, not all disbursements are fixed and set within the legislation on what can be recovered. Where a dispute arises on a disbursement which is not fixed within the CPR, Part 8 proceedings can be issue on costs. Alternatively, an application can be lodged to deal with the dispute specifically relating to a disbursement as per Nema v Kirkland.


How Can ARC Costs Assist?

ARC Costs are a team of specialist Costs Lawyers and Costs Draftsman who deal with costs disputes.

At ARC Costs, we can assist with preparing Bill of Costs for both standard basis costs and CPR 45 Fixed Recoverable Costs. We can assist in ensuring all disbursements that form part of your case have a good chance of being recovered, and we can also assist in the recovery of your costs and disbursements.

We can assist in representing either receiving or paying parties at detailed assessment and through the full costs recovery process. Should you require any further information or our assistance, please contact us on 01204 397302, via email at, or via the live chat facility below.

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