Part 8 Costs Only Proceedings
When Is the Right Time to Issue?
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Part 8 costs only proceedings can arise when the main action settled prior to issuing proceedings. When a matter settles pre-action, the costs of the claim can only be negotiated on an informal basis. Whilst acceptance of a Part 36 Offer provides an automatic entitlement to costs, in a pre-action case, it does not provide an assessment instrument to begin detailed assessment. Issuing Part 8 costs only proceedings allows an order to be made for the costs to be assessed, and for a Notice of Commencement to be served.
Part 8 claims are materially different to Part 7 proceedings, and that they do not involve a significant dispute of fact i.e. the paying party is in agreement that costs are to be paid, but the quantum of the same has not been agreed.
How to Issue Part 8 Costs Only Proceedings
Either party can start these proceedings, and it can be done so by using a Part 8 Claim Form (N208). Proceedings must be commenced in the same Court which would have heard the Part 7 proceedings, had they been necessary. It is necessary for a Statement of Truth to be completed with the Claim Form, and payment of a Court fee of £55 is required. You will also need to include evidence you seek to rely on for so that an order for costs can be made. This will typically take the form of the offer and acceptance in the main action, which must specifically provide for costs to be payable in addition (unless the offer automatically includes such a provision, such as a Part 36 Offer).
Benefits of Issuing Part 8 Costs Only Proceedings
Whilst an agreement on costs can be reached without the requirement for Part 8 proceedings, it is beneficial to issue these proceedings if the parties cannot agree on costs. We would recommend that Part 8 proceedings are issued no sooner than 14 days after initial costs disclosure has been provided to the paying party, as parties are encouraged to use litigation as a last resort only.
Once Part 8 proceedings are issued and an Order made for detailed assessment, the Bill of Costs is then able to be served with a Notice of Commencement (N252). This Notice of Commencement gives the paying party 21 days from the date of the N252 to provide written Points of Dispute. If the paying party fails to provide written Points of Dispute in the time period, then the receiving party is entitled to apply for Default Costs Certificate for the full amount claimed. This is the equivalent to a Default Judgement under Part 7 proceedings.
If the Points of Dispute are provided in time, then the receiving party is required to provide Replies to the Points of Dispute.
If a settlement cannot be reached between the parties, either party can request Provisional Assessment of Costs under Part 8 Costs Only Proceedings. You will be required to provide the Bill of Costs, Points of Dispute and Replies to the Court. A Judge will then summarily assess the Costs on paper, unless the amount claimed exceeds £75,000, for which an attended detailed assessment will be required.
If either party do not agree with the outcome of the provisional assessment, then they may request an oral hearing to review any element of the initial assessment. This involves a hearing in person to be attended, and a bundle will be needed to be prepared including all the file of papers for which costs are claimed.
How Can ARC Costs Assist?
We regularly assist our clients in issuing Part 8 costs only proceedings in circumstances in which costs are payable between parties pre-issue, but agreement cannot be reached. This can be common in high value disputes, and CPR 45 costs claims.
Our team are highly experienced in preparing Bills of Costs and handling negotiations on your behalf to seek to agree costs, and we are able to conduct the detailed assessment process up to and including the final detailed assessment hearing if required.
Get in touch with the team by utilising our live chat facility below, or contacting one of our costs experts directly on 01204 397302. Please email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out further information.
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