What is Detailed Assessment of Costs

Costs of litigation are inevitable for all legal cases. On conclusion of a legal case, it is necessary to determine each party’s liability for legal costs. Detailed assessment of costs is used in multi-track or non fixed-costs matters, when costs are not agreed, to determine how much the paying party (usually the unsuccessful party to a case) owes to the receiving party (the successful party to the case). The rules for the detailed assessment procedure are outlined under CPR 47.


The Detailed Assessment of Costs Process

Detailed assessment proceedings should begin when an agreement as to costs cannot be reached on the settlement of a case. The receiving party should serve their Bill of Costs on the paying party, alongside a Notice of Commencement to initiate the Detailed Assessment Process. The Bill of Costs should be served within three months from the date of receipt of a Costs Order.

The paying party will have 21 days from the date of service to provide their Points of Dispute, outlining any arguments they may have regarding the costs listed within the Bill of Costs. If the paying party do not file their Points of Dispute within 21 days, the receiving party can apply for a Default Costs Certificate which will allow them to recover all costs listed in the Bill of Costs.

On receipt of the Points of Dispute, the receiving party will then be able to serve their Replies to the Points of Dispute. These should also be served within 21 days. Both parties can continue to negotiate costs in this way until an agreement as to costs has been reached.

If an agreement cannot be reached using the Detailed Assessment process, the case will proceed to a Detailed Assessment Hearing or Provisional Assessment Hearing, depending on the value of the Bill. During this hearing, a Costs Judge will consider the Points of Dispute and Replies to Points of Dispute to assess the costs and will make a decision on each point depending on what he considers reasonable.

Under CPR 47.22, any decision made during the course of a detailed assessment hearing can be appealed. Any appeal notice (N161) must be lodged with a costs judge or a district judge of the High Court within 21 days of the date of the detailed assessment decision (or Court of Appeal if the initial assessment takes place in the High Court). Directions will be given thereafter, and a copy of the Appeal notice served upon any other parties to proceedings.

It is important to note that additional costs and Court Fees will be incurred should you wish to appeal the decision.


How Can Legal Practice Support Assist?

The Legal Practice Support team are always happy to help or advise on any costs issues through the process of Detailed Assessment.

We provide our services and assistance to both law firms and Litigants in Person in the preparation of Bills of Costs, Points of Dispute and Points of Reply.

Our team of Costs Lawyers and Costs Draftsmen can represent you at detailed assessment hearings irrespective of whether you are the paying party or the receiving party.

As a team of highly experienced and qualified Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers, we strive to achieve the best possible outcome for all clients and can assist in all areas of litigation.

If you would like to find out more about our law costs draftsman service, please visit the legal costs section on our website.

Our Costs Director, Robert Collington, can be contacted via email at enquiries@legalpracticesupport.co.uk or by telephone on 01204 930234.