What Does a Costs Lawyer Do? Legal Costs FAQs

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What Does a Costs Lawyer Do?


Costs Lawyers are qualified and regulated legal professionals that specialise in the practice of legal costs law.  In most cases, Costs Lawyers will be required in situations where there is a need to recover or negotiate costs between parties in litigation.

So, what does a Costs Lawyer do? Costs Lawyers are specialist lawyers that deal with a variety of legal costs matters such as:

  • Drafting Points of Dispute and Replies to claims for costs
  • Advising on retainers and fee arrangements between clients and their legal advisors
  • Advising on disputes between Solicitors and their clients
  • Drafting Bills and Schedules of Costs
  • Advising on and preparing claims for costs from public funds (Legal Aid Costs)
  • Preparing costs estimates or budgets  

Legal Costs FAQS: What Are The Benefits of Using Law Costs Draftsmen/Costs Lawyers?


Law Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers have a great amount of knowledge and experience in legal costs as they specialise in this area. This means that they are beneficial in maximising the amount you receive in your legal costs recovery. They are also experts in negotiating Bills of Costs to reduce your costs liability if you are the paying party.

Most Costs Draftsmen firms have strict service level agreements meaning that the time spent on costs work will be significantly reduced. On most occasions, outsourcing costs work to a professional Law Costs Draftsman or costs lawyer will mean that the turnaround time will be much faster than completing the work in-house.

There are many instances when Solicitors and fee earners in law firms are inundated with large amounts of work. Therefore, using a Law Costs Draftsmen takes the pressure of legal costs off the Solicitor.

In addition all Costs Lawyers must hold professional indemnity insurance, ensuring that your legal costs claim is protected with professional representation.


Legal Costs FAQS: What Is A Bill Of Costs In Law? 


If you are successful in a case, an order may be given for a detailed assessment of your legal costs due to the fact that, in most Court proceedings, legal costs are not paid for until the case has been concluded. If an order for detailed assessment has been made, the receiving party will be required to draft a Bill of Costs.

The Bill of Costs forms part of the documents that are required for detailed assessment proceedings. It is an in-depth statement detailing the costs that have been incurred on a case, which is usually prepared by a Costs Lawyer or a Costs Draftsman. The winning party (receiving party) serves the losing party (paying party) the Bill of Costs so that their legal costs can be negotiated and recovered.  

In April 2018, the electronic Bill of Costs became mandatory and has since applied to multi-track claims. The electronic Bill of Costs was introduced to provide transparency as it would show the amount of costs that had been claimed clearly as well as being more user friendly.

To prepare a Bill of Costs access to your file is required as well as any time records that can be provided.

Once the paying party has received a Bill of Costs, they should then serve their Points of Dispute within 21 days of service of the bill.


Legal Costs FAQs: What Are Standard Basis Costs? 

If costs are assessed on a standard basis, it means that the Court will only allow those costs that are proportionate to the matters in issue. This means that the party that is seeking to recover its costs, the receiving party, must provide evidence that the amount they are claiming is reasonable and proportional to the case. Therefore, cases that are assessed on a standard basis usually work in favour of the paying party.

This is the basis on which most cost orders are made and if a party does not request an order for costs on the alternative indemnity basis, then standard basis will be ordered. 

Legal Costs FAQs: What Are Indemnity Basis Costs?   

In some exceptional circumstances, costs can be assessed on an indemnity basis. When a case is assessed on an indemnity basis it means that the receiving party will be allowed a full payment of their claimed costs unless the paying party can prove that that the costs were unreasonable.

On an indemnity basis, the Court only has to be satisfied that the costs are reasonable but any issues of proportionality are irrelevant. Therefore when costs are assessed on an indemnity basis any issue of doubt is generally resolve in favour of the receiving party.

Costs that are assessed on an indemnity basis are generally cases in which a paying party is being penalised for improper conduct.


Legal Costs FAQS: How Can ARC Costs Assist?

At ARC costs, we are pragmatic and forward thinking Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers, which means that if you need a team to act upon and draft costs on an outsourced basis, we can assist.

We strive to achieve the best possible result on every case, and our management team regularly monitor and track all cases to ensure that we are delivering to expectations.

With over twenty years’ experience in external and in-house law firms across the team, our costs team understand the pressure faced when drafting and negotiating costs.

ARC Costs is also the only paperless and digital law costs practice.  This means that the entire instruction process will be expedited, and a much more efficient and simple experience is provided to our clients.

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



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