Electronic bill of costs to be compulsory by October
2nd Jun 2017
Solicitors are being warned to prepare themselves for a major upheaval in the handling of litigation costs, as a new electronic bill of costs is set to be compulsory by October.
The new bill will become mandatory for all detailed assessments in the Senior Courts Costs Office, as reportedly decided by The Civil Procedure Rule Committee; the only step left is for the bill to receive ministerial approval.
It is highly likely that costs incurred after October must be in this format, according to Francis Kendall, the ACL vice-chairman. As such, solicitors must make sure they are aware of what will be required of them.
Kendall continued: ‘Done properly, it can offer significant benefits to parties, judges and lawyers alike. It is obviously a concern that the pilot did not deliver any data, and it may be that – as Lord Justice Jackson himself said last year – making it compulsory is the only way to change practice.’
‘But it also means that, initially, everyone will be flying in the dark to some extent, and there are bound to be teething problems. It is vital in particular that sufficient time is put aside for judicial training.’
It was reported last year that the costs bill would most likely be compulsory after October 2017, based on the pilot’s results.
‘Parties will be able to file their bill in electronic format which will assist the court in assessing the bill as any adjustment made by the court, to, say, the rate or hours claimed, will automatically be carried through to all relevant parts of the bill,’ according to a note from the Ministry of Justice.