Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled some FAQs ....

Can the cost of preparing the Bill be recovered?

The Practice Direction supplementing Part 43 at 4.18 states:

"A claim may be made for the reasonable costs of preparing and checking the Bill of Costs".

What are the time limits for commencement of Detailed Assessment Proceedings?

The general rules as to time limits for Detailed Assessment are set out in Part 47. Under 47.7 the Detailed Assessment Proceedings must be commenced within 3 months after the date of the Judgement, Direction, Order, Award or other determination. In the case of discontinuance the time commences from the date of service of the Notice of Discontinuance under Rule 38.3 or 3 months after the date of the dismissal of the Application to set aside the Notice of Discontinuance.

When must I serve my Points of Dispute?

In accordance with CPR Rule 47.9 the Paying Party may dispute any item within the Bill of Costs by serving Points of Dispute upon the Receiving Party. The period for service of such Points of Dispute is 21 days after the date of service of the Notice of Commencement. The Notice of Commencement should state the date by which Points of Dispute are due to be served.

Do I need to serve Points of Reply?

CPR Rule 47.13 provides that the Receiving Party may serve a reply, however this is optional. If it chooses to do so the period for service of Points of Reply is 21 days after service of Points of Dispute to which the Reply relates.

N.B. At 47.13.1 (comments) it is stated that whilst there is no obligation for the Receiving Party to serve a Reply, if it fails to do so this is factor that the Costs Judge can take into consideration under CPR Rule 47.18 (2) in deciding which Order to make in respect of Detailed Assessment proceedings.

How do I obtain a Default Cost Certificate?

Where the Paying Party has failed to provide the Points of Dispute within 21 days of service upon it of the Notice of Commencement, the Receiving Party is permitted by CPR Rule 47.9 to obtain a Default Cost Certificate. This is done by filing the request which is in the relevant practice form. The procedure is set out in the Cost Practice Direction at Section 37.

How do I set aside a Default Cost Certificate?

CPR Rule 47.12 sets out the circumstances in which a Default Cost Certificate may be set aside.

N.B. Points of Dispute must accompany the Application. The procedure is set out in the Costs Practice Direction at Section 38.

What is the Indemnity Principle?

It is a well established and long standing principle that costs between Party and Party are given as an indemnity to the person who is awarded costs and are not designed to be a punitive measure imposed upon the Party who is paying them; nor are they a bonus to the Receiving Party.

It is essential to note that CPR Rule 44.7.3 provides that signature of the Bill of Costs is a statement by the Solicitor certifying that the contents of the Bill are correct and accurate. Any costs which are claimed in the Bill of Costs must not therefore exceed the total liability which the Solicitor's client has in repect of their own costs either as a global sum, i.e. the total of the Solicitor and client Bills or individual items, e.g. the hourly rate in respect of an individual fee earner.

Note: CPR Rule 43.2(3) provides:

"Where advocacy or litigation services are provided to a client under a Conditional Fee Agreement, costs are recoverable under Parts 44 to 48 notwithstanding that the client is liable to pay his legal representatives fees and expenses only to the extent that sums are recovered in respect of proceedings, whether by way of costs or otherwise".

What rate am I likely to be allowed on Detailed or Summary Assessment?

When assessing costs, including the hourly rates claimed, the Court will have regard to the factors set out in CPR Rule 44.5. These factors include the conduct of the parties, the value of the claim, the importance of the matter to the parties, the complexity or novelty of the questions raised, the level of skill or specialist knowledge involved, and also the place and the cirumstances in which the work was done.

Appended to the Guide to the Summary Assessment of Costs issued by the Senior Courts Costs Office is a table of suggested hourly rates for different areas of the country for four categories of fee earner. It is possible to achieve rates in excess of the guideline rates in heavier, more complex cases. Click on the attached link to view the latest Guideline rates:

How should I make my offer to settle?

Offers to settle without prejudice save as to costs of detailed assessments are made pursuant to CPR Rule 47.19.

Section 18 of the Costs Practice Direction deals with the timing of such offers which should ideally be made within 14 days of service of the Notice of Commencement. If the offer is made by a Receiving Party it should normally be made 14 days after the serivce of Points of Dispute on the Paying Party. Offers made after these periods are given less weight.

N.B. Section 46.2 an offer is deemed to be inclusive of costs, VAT, cost of preparation of Bill and interest unless it makes explicit reference to excluding or including these items.

What is the rate of interest and at which point does it begin to run?

Interest on costs is payable pursuant to Section 17 of the Judgments Act 1838 or Section 74 of the County Courts Act 1984. The current rate of interest of 8% is payable from the date of the event giving rise to the entitlement to costs unless the Court orders otherwise.

See also CPR Rule 40.8.6 and 40.8.8. Interest on costs of Detailed Assessment runs from the date of the Default, Interim or Final Cost Certificate.

Senior Courts Costs Office – Fees in civil cases
The current Court fees which apply to the Detailed Assessment of costs can be found on the Senior Courts Costs Office website
Senior Courts Costs Office – Contact details
Senior Courts Costs Office Thomas More Building, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL DX: 44454 Strand
Contact numbers
  • 1. Issue and Cost Officers Section
    • Telephone numbers: 020 7947 7818
    • Fax number: 020 7947 6344
  • 2. Costs Judges Section
    • Telephone numbers: 020 7947 6505
    • Fax number: 020 7947 6247
  • 3. Court of Protection Section
    • Telephone numbers: 020 7947 6469
    • Fax number: 020 7947 6344
Can costs be capped?

Consider the case of Wills v Nicholson
(2007 EWCA Civ 199(CA) Buxton LJ)

What success fees can I claim?

Consideration should be given to the provisions of CPR Rule 45.15-45.26.

For matters which do not fall into the provisions of CPR 45 the percentage to be applied is that which is appropriate having regard to the risk the solicitor faced at the time of entering into the CFA.

Can I recover VAT on costs?

The party in whose favour an Order for costs is made is not entitled to claim VAT on their costs where they are able to recover the VAT as input tax (in the event that they are registered for VAT purposes).


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About TCP

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