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Detailed Practice Notes written by our Professional Support Lawyers, guiding you through the key issues in each topic.
Assessment - overviewPractice and procedure
An order for costs will provide for assessment on either a standard or indemnity basis:
the standard basis is the usual costs order and the court will allow only costs that are proportionate having regard to the circumstances of the case and the factors set out in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR 1998)
the indemnity basis should only be allowed where there has been a high degree of unreasonableness in the conduct of the proceedings or disapproval of the way in which proceedings have been conducted; the costs recoverable are generally higher
In both cases the factors set out in CPR 1998 will be considered, including the amount or value of the assets involved, and the particular complexity, difficulty or novelty of the issues raised.
Costs in family proceedings (except for proceedings in respect of which a public funding certificate has been issued) will be assessed under CPR 1998. Assessment may be either by a summary or detailed assessment.
Summary assessment is where the court orders a payment of a specified sum of money assessed there and then. Where a party intends to seek an order for costs by way of summary assessment, they must file and serve on the other party a schedule of costs 24 hours before the hearing. There are guideline figures for solicitors' fees that are applicable in each court.
Generally, a detailed assessment may not be undertaken until the proceedings are concluded. The bill of costs should be prepared in accordance with the specimen bill set out in the schedule to the Costs Practice Direction. CPR 1998 set out the procedure, which must usually commence within three months of the order. The receiving party must serve notice of commencement on the paying party, together with the prescribed documents, including the bill and copies of counsel's fee notes. The paying party may serve points of dispute within the time prescribed. Where the paying party has not filed points of dispute within the prescribed time, the other party may apply for a default costs certificate. Where points of dispute have been filed, the receiving party should apply for a detailed assessment hearing. If the parties agree the amount of costs, either party may apply for a costs certificate (interim or final ) in the amount agreed. The Costs Practice Direction sets out the prescribed form and lists the documents to be filed. The court must take proportionality into account when making an assessment of costs.
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