Management of Detailed Assessment Proceedings
Throughout the costs assessment process we will diarise all key dates to ensure that deadlines are never missed. We will maintain a careful approach that ensures accuracy and efficiency throughout, with your law costs consultant remaining the same from beginning to end. In cases where we act on your behalf, we will conduct ourselves in a robust manner that gains the most favourable outcome possible.
Preparing Points of Dispute
At Aestima we ensure that carefully prepared and well-argued points of dispute are produced in compliance with court rules, assisting in costs negotiations with the receiving party. We are confident that the quality of our submissions will lead to more favourable results being achieved when resolving a costs dispute, either by negotiation or at a detailed assessment hearing.
We are able to receive and review either your paper or electronic files. Alternatively, we can attend your office to review the file, which may be more convenient. Having face to face contact with fee earners will assist with the content of the points of dispute and our costs consultant will always be happy to answer any queries.
Preparing Replies to Points of Dispute
Replies to points of dispute will be prepared by the same law costs consultant who prepared the bill of costs. This ensures that their intimate knowledge of the case will be used to judge the merits of the points raised and to provide robust responses. The consultant’s expertise will mean that the relevant court rules will be adhered to and that the receiving party’s case will be set out in a way that maximises the costs recovery.
Undertaking Negotiations for Settlement Purposes
Aestima is able to conduct negotiations on your behalf, freeing up your valuable time. We utilise our considerable experience in optimising costs outcomes for our clients, whether this be for the receiving or the paying party. Your law costs consultant will remain the same, keeping costs lower as a result.
We pride ourselves on adopting a realistic and firm approach to negotiations, working to our clients’ best interests and ensuring that our fees are reasonable. You will receive guidance as to the likely outcome of the detailed assessment proceedings and on appropriate settlement parameters. This pragmatic advice will help keep the cost of the process proportionate.
Preparing Request for Assessment
We are able to save valuable time for our clients by preparing the necessary request for an assessment hearing. We assemble the relevant papers and ensure that a hearing is obtained quickly and without complications.
Preparing the Papers for Lodging
We can also prepare the necessary papers for court in advance of the hearing. These will be prepared in the order required by the court, with the efficiency of our service ensuring they are lodged on time.
Preparing Application for Interim Costs Certificate/Payment on Account
As well as preparing these applications and evidence in support, we can also conduct the resultant hearings on your behalf, saving you valuable time. We prepare the statement of costs to be filed prior to the hearing and will carefully analyse the claim for costs so that appropriate sums on account can be sought and obtained. This of course assists with recovery and cash-flow.
Preparing Statements of Costs
When conducting detailed assessment proceedings on your behalf, we will also prepare the necessary statement of costs form N260, setting out costs incurred in advance of the hearing. Where costs of the detailed assessment proceedings stand to be recovered, this will be prepared so as to maximise that recovery.
Aestima can also assist with costs in interlocutory applications, accurately preparing the requisite statement of costs. This will save the fee earner the trouble of preparing the statement which is often a complex and time-consuming task. The court will also have the assurance that the document has been prepared by an external costs expert, putting the claim in a more favourable position.
Our team of experienced advocates will always protect your clients’ best interests in court, drawing on our years of experience in costs litigation. By regularly undertaking advocacy, as well as preparing bills of costs and analysing claims for costs, we have developed an instinctive intuition as to what the courts will allow at detailed assessment, as well as what points are best to pursue in court. We pride ourselves in having such a number of experienced advocates when, due to the introduction of CPR 47.15 (provisional assessments), law costs consultants can no longer learn advocacy skills on smaller bills of costs.
We can conduct the provisional assessment proceedings on your behalf, including the preparation of assessment requests and the lodging of the papers. For receiving parties we keep costs affordable, given that the recoverable costs of the provisional assessment process (excluding the court fee and VAT) are capped at £1,500.00 (CPR 47.15(5)).
We are also happy to advise on the outcome of provisional assessments and to calculate the sums allowed by the court. This is not always obvious from the assessed bill that is returned, and is where our understanding of the process proves valuable. At the same juncture, we will also advise if an oral hearing should be sought. In the event either party seeks an oral hearing you can be assured that the costs consultant will continue to assist you throughout.
Preparing Part 8 Costs Claim
We are experienced in preparing Part 8 costs only claims for issue, and liaising with the courts where required. We can conduct Part 8 proceedings on your behalf, saving you time and ensuring the best outcome for your clients.
We were instructed on behalf of a high street bank in a commercial property dispute that concerned the termination of a lease of retail premises. In this case, the opponent’s entitlement to costs arose from a termination of the lease.
Advice given by costs consultant, John Ludman, led to the client making a ‘without prejudice’ offer on a commercial basis. This was successfully beaten at provisional assessment, with the bill of costs being assessed at less than the amount offered. John also represented the client at the subsequent oral hearing requested by the receiving party, who was represented by costs counsel. The outcome was very similar to the original assessment, resulting in a substantial costs saving for the client.