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When were the New Electronic Bill of Costs introduced?

In 2018, an update to Practice Direction 47 of the the CPR meant that some very important and progressive changes were made to the preparatory work required in respect of Bills of Costs. From 6th April 2018, use of the new electronic bill of costs was made compulsory in the County Courts and the Senior Courts Costs Office. Some law firms and Judges may have experienced some difficulty in adapting to the new electronic bill of costs as they may have failed to prepare for the changes by lacking the relevant technology and training.

 

Why Was the Electronic Bill of Costs Introduced?

The changes to Practice Direction 47 were made to streamline costs procedures, and make billing easier and less expensive to prepare. Using the new electronic bill of costs provides more transparency on the level of costs being claimed, figures are easier to amend on assessment by any assessing officer, the Excel document is self-calculating, and it is simpler to understand in what phases costs have been incurred. It also makes it easier for paying parties to question the amounts being claimed by the paying parties.

Who do the Rules Apply to?

The rules apply to Part 7 multi track claims and an electronic bill of costs must be used in in these cases except:

  • Claims where proceedings are subject to fixed or scale costs
  • Cases where the receiving party is a Litigant in Person
  • When the Court has ordered otherwise (parties can agree by consent to not apply electronic billing)
  • Where the Multi-Track costs claimed are before 6th April 2018

As the new rules came into force on 6th April 2018, an old-style bill of costs, or an electronic bill of costs can be used on cases which commenced before this date.

 

What is Precedent S?

Precedent S is a spreadsheet is a pro-forma document created for use with the new electronic billing system. It comprises of 17 sheets which can be filled in to provide details of the costs being claimed by the receiving party.

 

Can Proclaim be Developed to Assist with the Electronic Bill of Costs?

In April 2018, Eclipse Legal Systems announced an update in it’s Proclaim Solution which can greatly assist in using the new e-bills system.  The update has enabled the management of these changes to time recording. The new Precedent S e-bill can now be produced from the file history and data can be arranged into the appropriate designated categories of phase, task and activity.

 

How Can we Assist with Electronic Bills of Costs?

If you would like to find out more about best practice in preparing your Bills of Costs, we would invite readers to view this section on our website for further guidance. The Legal Practice Support team are always happy to help with any budgeting issues, and the author can be contacted via email at stacey@legalpracticesupport.co.uk

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

In addition, if you would like any information on how your Proclaim system can be developed to assist with the new electronic bill of costs, get in touch with our Head Proclaim Developer, James Denby, via e-mail on info@legalpracticesupport.co.uk

You can also get in touch with us via the Contact Page on our website.