Countdown to the Big Bang Bill….
There has been a lot of heads being put in the sand and perhaps even (blissful) ignorance in some cases over the impending electronic new Bill of Costs. To some extent this is understandable, given the controversy surrounding the MOJ’s Precedent AB and the subsequent alternative bill produced by the ACL, and many have hoped or even believed that this all must surely go away.
As from 1 October 2017 the new Bill of Costs will be mandatory, and will apply to all work done after 1 October. We are waiting the final output on the exact form of the bill from the Civil Procedure Rules Committee who were meeting this month but several sources have confirmed to us that the electronic bill is not going away and the October deadline is not slipping. Litigators and costs lawyers should therefore be taking action now!
Jackson’s visions was to drive efficiency up and costs down by creating an electronic end-to-end solution from time recording, budgeting to bill. Lawyers are already falling foul by failing to have systems to monitor their costs incurred against the agreed Precedent H budgets. For some firms one large loss is a trigger to do something about this, but for many it is a gradual realisation that that they are not making the same level of profits they were as they are just not recovering the level of costs that they used to.
If no action is taken the problems surrounding the costs procedure are only going to increase with the implementation of the new Bill. 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 an unenviable task. The cost of production of the bill will go up considerably and these unrecoverable additional costs will have to inevitably be passed back. There is an alternative to this scenario of doom and gloom….
LHQ software can produce the budget, monitor the costs and produce the new Bill of Costs. 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.