Detailed Assessment of Costs: An Overview


A detailed assessment of costs is a process which is conducted after the settlement of a case. It is utilised when deciding the amount of legal costs and disbursement fees that should be awarded to the winning party.

This process can occur between a solicitor and a client, under the Solicitors Act 1974, if the client challenges the solicitors’ bill. Alternatively, it can occur between a successful party and an unsuccessful party. This is known as an inter-partes costs dispute and is frequently held in the County Court or High Court.

Many cases settle costs via this process; however, the Court can sometimes decide to assess the costs on the day of the trial or hearing, this is called Summary Assessment.

What is the Detailed Assessment Process?

  1. Bill of Costs– Following the conclusion of a case, a detailed Bill of Costs will need to be prepared for the paying party. This document needs to be comprehensive and effectively list all of the work that the solicitor has completed. Upon serving on the paying party, a Notice of Commencement will also be sent to the paying party.

  1. Points of Dispute– The Notice of Commencement will state a date, 21 days from service of the Bill of Costs, which requires the receiving party to have prepared their Points of Dispute by. During this time period, negotiations should commence. If the paying party fails to provide their Points of Dispute within 21 days of service, a Default Costs Certificate can be prepared. This will enforce that the paying party provides the receiving party with the full amount of the Bill of Costs.

  1. Points of Reply– Following the delivery of the points of dispute, the receiving party will have 21 days to review them and decide if they accept them or not. If they do not accept them, they should conduct further negotiations and prepare Points of Reply. Although this document should be served within 21 days of receipt of the Points of Dispute, there is no sanction if you fail to do so.

  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)– By this point in the process, it is hoped that settlement may have been reached. However, in many cases, successful settlement can take a longer amount of time. Prior to applying for a Detailed Assessment Hearing, parties should engage in ADR methods, such as mediation and arbitration. The Court places a large amount of importance in this, and refusal to do so can result in costs consequences. Through the implementation of ADR, the Court wastes less time, and parties can reduce their costs by not incurring unnecessary court fees.

  1. Detailed Assessment Hearing– If ADR methods are unsuccessful, commencing detailed assessment proceedings is the next step. In this hearing, the Costs Judge or District Judge will decide the amount of costs payable to the winning party and produce a court order to enforce this. If the matter is valued at less than £75,000, a Provisional Assessment Hearing will be conducted. However, if the matter is valued in excess of £75,000, a Detailed Assessment Hearing will take place.

How can Greener Costs assist?

At Greener Costs, out expert team of costs law professionals can assist you in a variety of costs matters related to detailed assessment of costs. This includes the preparation of Bills of CostsPoints of Dispute and Points of Reply. Our turnaround time of 5 working days ensures that you case moves efficiently through the process and settles swiftly.

Throughout every step of the Detailed Assessment process, we can provide you with regular updates on the status of your matter. Therefore, you can be confident that your legal costs are in safe hands.

Please contact us using the form below to find out more.

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