Electronic Bill of Costs
A Bill of Costs can be a complicated area of costs law, yet it is imperative to get it right as any mistakes to the document can have costly repercussions down the line. Due to the highly specialist area of law costing, it is important that the Bill of Costs is filled out with confidence, and due to recent changes in legislation it means a new electronic style of the bill is to be followed.
In order to initiate the detailed assessment process for multi track claims, a bill of costs must be served to the paying party by the receiving party with a Notice of Commencement. Then, the paying party serve their Points of Dispute and engage in negotiations with the receiving party regarding costs.
In 2018 there was an update to Practice Directon 47 in which the standard 3 column bill was replaced by a new style of an electronic Bill of Costs. The use of the new e-bill was introduced for all multi track cases and it was made mandatory in the Senior Courts Costs Office and the County Courts.
It is worth noting that if a case has costs occurred prior to 6th April 2018 then a combination of the old style of the bill and the new electronic bill can be used together.
Why was the Electronic Bill of Costs introduced?
The main intention of introducing a new electronic bill was to streamline the process and increase more transparency in the amount of costs being claimed. In turn, this was supposed to make the whole process of preparing the bill more user-friendly and less expensive to draft, ultimately making it simpler to adjust figures, such as time recordings, as the e-bill is self calculating.
E-bills were also intended to make systems and procedures for costs budgeting, costs management, detailed assessment and summary assessment more consistent.
Is it worth noting that even today, many Solicitors and law professionals find the new electronic bill of costs system quite complex and difficult to understand, despite the fact it was originally introduced to make processes easier.
There was also a low uptake in the electronic bill pilot scheme, emphasising the apprehension of many professionals in the industry. This is why it is important to utilise the help and advice of an experienced Costs Lawyer to assist in the process, as making mistakes will be used against you during costs proceedings later on.
When should the E-bill be used?
The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) states that the electronic bill of costs should be used in all multi track claims past 6th April 2018. Some exceptions to this include:
- Litigant in Person cases
- Fixed costs or scale costs claims
- If the court orders otherwise
- If the costs claim predates 6th April 2018
Preparing your Electronic Bill of Costs
For an electronic bill of costs, a Precedent S needs to be completed which is a spreadsheet pro-forma document that has been especially created for use alongside the new electronic bill. This document is made up of 17 sheets which detail the costs the receiving party intend to claim for.
It is more likely than not that the bill of costs will be challenged by the opposing party, which makes it that much more important to ensure there are no mistakes that can be picked apart and used against you.
Due to the specialist area of the law that the new electronic bill surrounds, it is highly advisable that you obtain expert assistance on the preparation of such an important document.
How Greener Costs can assist
At Greener Costs our costs experts are experienced in a variety of tasks and activities surrounding costing, drafting and negotiations. Whether you are a paying party or a receiving party, you can rely on our team of highly experienced legal costs experts to assist you through the electronic bill of costs process and secure the best possible negotiated settlement for you.
In addition to our services at Greener Costs, we are actively doing everything we can to ensure our business benefits the environment.
We are doing this though carbon offsetting of our staff, becoming completely paperless and carbon offsetting through each instruction.
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