Multi Track Claims Costs: Negotiation and Recovery

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What are Multi Track Claims Costs?

As part of case management for most claims, including personal injury matters, there are three different track options for which a case is allocated to; the Small Claims Track, the Fast track and the Multi Track. The Small Claims Track is used for cases which are generally valued below £10,000 (save for when PI applies). Fast Track cases are usually valued between £10,000 and £25,000 and have short Trial time estimations of a day or less. Currently, cases which have an estimated value exceeding £25,000 or those which have a longer trial estimation are usually allocated to the Multi Track.  This however, is subject to potential review and more information is provided on this below.

Costs in Multi Track cases differ from those permitted in the Fast Track for certain claim types, such as personal injury claims, where costs are fixed.  Again, a consultation is currently taking place to extend fixed costs to all Fast Track type cases and more information on this is available below.

In most Multi Track cases, the Court will usually order the losing party to pay the costs of the winning party, unless otherwise stated within the Costs Order. Costs will either be ordered on a standard basis or an indemnity basis. On the standard basis, the Court will only allow for the recovery of costs that are reasonable and proportionate to the case in question.  Under the indemnity basis, the requirement for proportionality falls away, and issues as to reasonableness will generally be decided in favour of the receiving party.


Recovery and Negotiation of Multi Track Claims Costs


Determination of Multi Track claims costs is done through the process of Detailed Assessment. Summary assessment of such costs should never arise, given that the scope of the same can only apply to hearings which last a day or less.

The first step within this process is to draft a Bill of Costs. This document will be prepared by the winning party (receiving party) or their representative and will detail the costs which they seek to recover. This includes the hourly rates and time taken for work carried out on the case, and details of any disbursements, such as expert fees and Court fees. This must be served on the losing party (paying party) generally within three months of the costs order however, it can be served thereafter but consequences as to the recovery of interest may apply, and the other side is also entitled to apply for an Unless Order for failure to serve a Bill within three months.

Subsequent to this, legal costs negotiations can commence through use of Points of Dispute and Points of Reply. Points of Dispute should be served on the receiving party within 21 days of receipt of the Bill of Costs, if the paying party is not in agreement with all costs listed within the bill.

To negotiate further, replies to the Points of Dispute should be sent by the receiving party following receipt of the Points of Dispute.

The parties should make efforts to settle the matter out of Court; although, a detailed assessment or provisional assessment hearing can be applied for if an agreement cannot be reached. This will be a final hearing in which costs will be assessed and granted by a Costs Judge (subject to any appeal or oral hearing).


Proposals to Increase the Scope of Fixed Costs

The government has recently confirmed that there will be an extension to fixed costs in England and Wales. This now means that all civil cases valued up to £100,000 will generally be allocated to the Fast Track and fixed costs will therefore apply. The reason for this change is to reduce the costs of litigation, and the Fast Track will be divided into four categories of complexity which cater for different levels of fixed costs. Standard costs will continue to apply for Multi Track costs claims, and further details of the extension of fixed costs can be found here.


How can ARC Costs Assist with Multi Track Claims Costs?

ARC Costs are an experienced team of law Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers who can assist in the recovery and negotiation of Multi Track claims costs, as well as other costs disputes, for Solicitors and Legal Executives.  As Costs Lawyers, we can also accept direct access instruction from Litigants in Person.

As independent costs experts, we hold experience in acting for both Paying and Receiving parties, and we are registered to practice and conduct proceedings throughout England and Wales in respect of all costs disputes.

Our costs team can provide expert legal advice and assist in the preparation and negotiation of Costs Budgets and Bills of Costs. We ensure all our Bills are detailed and accurate and reflect the maximum reasonable recoverability of your costs.

We also negotiate with the opposing party on your behalf and, dependant upon whether we are acting for the Paying Party or the Receiving Party, we can prepare Points of Dispute or Points of Reply to minimise/maximise the amount of costs recoverable. Our Costs Lawyers are authorised and regulated by the CLSB, and can therefore provide representation at Costs and Case Management Conferences as well as at Detailed Assessment Hearings.

Should you wish to discuss your costs query with us, you may contact us on 01204 397302 or email one of the team at Alternatively, you may complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you.

We are always happy to be flexible in respect of our charging structure, and whether you have a single query or volume instructions, we will be able to put together the right pricing structure to benefit you.

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