Wigg & Co - procedure on detailed assessment of civil litigation costs
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The relevant rules are
contained in Part 47 and the accompanying practice direction. This note
is intended to be only a basic guide to the rules, etc and for more
information you should refer to the CPR itself or ourselves. For full details see the Justice website.
The time for commencing detailed assessment proceedings is within three
months of the event giving rise to the Receiving Party's right to have
their costs assessed (Part 47.7). It should also be noted that there is
no automatic stay of detailed assessment proceedings if there is an
appeal (Part 47.2).
Detailed assessment proceedings are commenced by serving the documents
listed below on the paying party/parties. You do not at this stage have
to lodge anything with the Court.
(a) notice of commencement (form N252)
(b) signed bill of costs in form
(c) copy Counsel's fee notes and any expert's fee notes
(d) written evidence of any other disbursement exceeding £250.00
(e) a statement giving the name and address of any person upon whom the
Receiving Party intends to serve the notice of commencement (eg. where
there is more than one Paying Party - this is on the N 252 form).
The rules (part 47.6) only refer to the need to serve the first two
documents on the Paying Party to commence detailed assessment. The
practice direction expands this to the full list set out above. Failure
to serve all of the above may lead to difficulties in enforcing any
default certificate (see below).
The relevant sanction for delay is generally disallowance of interest
but the Court does have wider powers to disallow costs for use where
there has been very serious delay and the Paying Party makes an
application requiring the Receiving Party to commence detailed
assessment proceedings - see Part 47.8. Additionally it is open to the
parties to agree to extend or shorten any of the time limits set out in
this Part and you can of course apply to the Court if you require an
extension of time.
The relevant fees payable in assessment are as published by the Senior Court Costs Office.
Once the notice of commencement et al has been served the Paying Party
has 21 days to put in Points of Dispute (Part 47.9) failing which the
Receiving Party may apply for a default costs certificate (similar to
judgement in default). A fee is payable and the relevant part of the
rules dealing with default costs certificates is Part 47.11. Application
to set aside such default costs certificates can be made and may be
successful where the formalities required by the rules have not been
complied with (eg. if there has not been proper service and probably if
copy fee notes have not been supplied) otherwise if the costs are
substantial and the Paying Party has reasonable prospects of having the
costs reduced. The Human Rights Act 1998 when it comes into effect on
02.10.00 may also have some impact on applications by individuals to set
aside default costs certificates entered against them.
If Points of Dispute are received the Receiving Party may then serve
(optional) replies (Part 47.13). The time for doing so is 21 days after
service of the Points of Dispute. Generally District Judges expect
replies to be served.
The next step is to request a hearing. This is done by completing form
N258 (Request for Detailed Assessment Hearing) and sending the Court the
documents listed on that form. The time for requesting this hearing is
within three months of the expiry of the period for commencing detailed
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