Preparing Legal Bills of Costs
The ability of the Aestima law costs consultants to prepare bills of costs and all associated documents to the specific formats required and scrutinise files to ensure absolute accuracy is what makes this service so valuable. The attention to detail provided keeps challenges to a minimum and keeps the assessment process moving at a swifter pace that results in a speedier resolution. The focus is on a high level of recovery for each and every case, something attainable thanks to continuity of the same law costs consultant, frank advice and quick turnaround.
Inter Partes Bills of Costs
The specific format of the inter partes bill of costs must be adhered to in order to avoid sanctions. Our law costs consultants have vast experience in this area and their specialist understanding ensures that all factors that can influence the outcome are controlled. We ensure the bill of costs reflects the solicitor’s file accurately so that it stands up to the scrutiny of detailed assessment. Where necessary the bill of costs will mirror the approved or agreed budget. We maintain a thoughtful approach that ensures only the inclusion of costs that are recoverable under court orders, thus avoiding heavy challenges from the paying party.
This attention to detail helps to avoid harsh reductions further on in the process, and maintains a high level of recovery, as does our commitment to cross-referencing with previously approved budgets. We focus on continuity throughout, as well as provide a comprehensive narrative that focuses on the salient points. This added detail ensures that the costs officer assigned has a full understanding of the intricacies of the litigation. We find that this leads to a more favourable outcome.
When preparing a legal bill of costs, we make certain that the same law costs consultant prepares both the bill and the Precedent Q. This ensures an accurate interpretation, and that the instructing solicitor’s Precedent Q reflects the budget prepared which would otherwise lead to a disallowance of costs. In the event that we were not engaged to prepare the budget but are required for the Precedent Q and inter partes bill of costs, our team’s experience guarantees accuracy.
Accuracy is key and our team is aware that a poorly prepared Precedent Q can result in a disastrous outcome. Our focus therefore is on precision and maximising recovery. We do this through the development of meaningful relationships between law costs consultant and instructing solicitor, offering advice on best working practices. This ensures that all litigation files are maintained to a high standard, thus supporting the costs claimed and resulting in a high recovery.
Advising on Settlement Parameters
At Aestima we will always offer frank advice as to which elements of costs may be at risk and the anticipated level of recovery either by way of negotiation or upon assessment. This gives the client the opportunity to concede certain costs very early on if they are high risk and if a swift and more beneficial settlement is achievable without them.
A quick resolution is the ideal scenario, with cash flow improved and law costs fees for negotiations and attending an assessment hearing mitigated. The reputation of the instructing solicitor can also be maintained and even improved, meaning future cases against the same opponent will be more reasonably and economically handled. Equally important is that an instructing solicitor is also able to manage their clients’ expectations, leading to a better relationship.
Preparing Notice of Commencement and Effecting Service
Through using Aestima, the instructing solicitor is free from having to prepare the notice and the accompanying documents, thus allowing more free time to attend to their case load. By calling on the Aestima team, it ensures the notice and bundle are correct and that no technical issues can be taken by the opposition or court to delay progress of the assessment procedure. This means that costs are received more swiftly and cash flow freed up.
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 law costs 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.
Negotiations on Costs
Aestima is able to conduct negotiations on your behalf, freeing up valuable time. We utilise our considerable experience in optimising costs outcomes for our clients. Your law costs consultant will remain the same, keeping our fees 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 costs of the process proportionate throughout.
The same law costs consultant can conduct advocacy at a hearing on your behalf, combining a long, practical experience of conducting detailed assessments with their knowledge of the case. This continuity ensures the best outcome for our clients, as their case is expertly argued on their behalf.
We received urgent instructions to prepare a bill of costs in a matter where budgets were a requirement. The budget had been previously prepared in-house by the instructing solicitor. A bill of costs was drawn in the usual way, however under the new rules introduced on 1 October 2015 (CPR 47.6) there was a requirement for a Precedent Q to accompany the claim for costs where there was a budgeting requirement.
Trying to convert the bill of costs into a Precedent Q using information from the budget was incredibly challenging. The reason for this difficulty was that the majority of the pre-action costs were placed in the pre-action column and had not been allocated to their respective categories i.e. witness statements, expert reports, ADR etc. However, with much skill and perseverance, we were able to produce a Precedent Q which accurately reflected both the bill of costs and the claimant’s budget prepared.