Points of Dispute
Careful consideration and expert industry knowledge ensures that points of dispute are prepared accurately and well within the given timeframes. By clearly identifying points and understanding compliance, your law costs consultant is able to maximise the protection for clients. Reasonable and realistic advice will be given throughout the process to ensure a swift resolution on the best terms for your client, with advocacy available should it be required at a hearing.
Preparing Points of Dispute
Careful scrutiny of the instructing solicitor’s papers ensures that accurate and pertinent points of dispute are prepared. This can take place at either the client’s office or files can be forwarded directly to Aestima depending on convenience. A team approach is vital, so that any costs issues that have arisen during the course of litigation can be identified.
Your law costs consultant will ensure that the points of dispute are filed within the 21 days required, unless an extension is agreed, working at a swift pace whilst ensuring accuracy. The law costs consultant’s experience of the court’s approach to assessments is vital in guaranteeing that your points of dispute are clearly and concisely presented.
Advising on Offers
Your law costs consultant’s experience of specific types of proceedings and the anticipated outcome of an assessment by the court is crucial when advising on offers. A well-pitched Part 36 offer affords the paying party protection against paying the costs of the assessment proceedings.
When preparing points of dispute we will not only advise in relation to an ‘open’ offer but also suitable ‘without prejudice’ or Part 36 offers to be made. Further advice will be given in relation to payments on account with a view to reducing liability for interest. Whichever the appropriate offer, your law costs consultant will take a realistic approach that ensures the maximum protection for your client.
Negotiations and Advocacy
It is important to study replies very carefully and formulate considered advice thereon. Your law costs consultant can offer advice on counter offers that have been received and give a detailed understanding of how reasonable they are. This advice will include all aspects of the settlement, including the interest payable and the costs of the assessment process.
Throughout this period you will work with the same law costs consultant, ensuring continuity. Should negotiations not lead to a settlement, then your costs consultant will also attend to the advocacy at the subsequent hearing, saving you time and offering a robust and well-argued case.
Hints & Tips
Payments on Account
Many clients overlook the fact that interest payable on costs is at the punitive rate of 8%, save for the exception below. On this basis, they should be advised to make substantial payments on account at the earliest possible opportunity. This should be at the time of conclusion of the litigation, in accordance with the provisions of CPR 44.2(8). Often a bill of costs is not served until it is due (three months from the date of authority for assessment) by which time three months of interest is already payable. This has further relevance when the assessment may not be listed for many months. The exception referred to above is that no interest is payable on claims for costs in the County Court of below £5,000.00.