New Bill of Costs – Mandatory from this October
The CPR rule committee has reportedly decided that the new bill of Costs will be mandatory for all detailed assessments in the Senior Courts Costs office from October. Reported in the Law Gazette, ACL vice-chairman Francis Kendall said it seems likely that costs incurred after October will have to be in the new format, so solicitors should make immediate efforts to understand what is required – Does your law firm have a plan of action?
The rule committee have made amendments to the bill being used in the pilot (Precedent AB) in that users will be able to create their own versions so long as they include certain levels of information. The changes to the CPR will come out in July in the next scheduled update.
The roll out will take place even though lawyers did not take part in the original pilot and without the SCCO having dealt with a single electronic bill. It is thought that by making the new Bill compulsory it is the only way that changes to practice will happen.
If lawyers fail to act and hand over their files to their costing teams at the end of the matter, in the time-honoured tradition, they will be giving their costs team the unenviable task of attempting to convert the raw data from scratch into an electronic format. The cost of production of the bill will go up considerably and these unrecoverable additional costs will have to inevitably be passed back.
LHQ will produce the new Bill of Costs. This will be initially in the form of Precedent AB but they will evolve with best practice to create the optimal solution. Time and disbursement information will be imported electronically from the law firm PMS allowing for budget creation, monitoring and finally the new Bill creation. Law firms can choose to time record using the Schedule 1 (J Codes) but if this is too onerous they can record costs using the Precedent H phases and work with their costing teams, using LHQ, still to efficiently and electronically produce the new Bill of Costs.
Contact Nicholas Clark Nicholas.Clark@lhq-uk.com at LHQ software to put your firm’s plan of action in place.