As you are all aware, organisation rules the world!
This is a very important point when you are preparing your files to send to your Costs Draftsman. An untidy or incomplete file can be a nightmare for both the Client and also the Costs Draftsman in terms of completing your Bill of Costs. The assessment process can be slow, but organisation and complete files can help to prevent unnecessary delays.
A simple checklist assists both you and the Costs Draftsman when sending your file for costing.
- your file of papers;
- your time ledger;
- your Court Order and any other relevant Orders;
- a letter of instruction;
- details of disbursements; and
- details of fee earners who have worked on the matter.
If information or files notes and correspondence are missing from the file, and cannot be deciphered from the ledger, the file cannot be completed without further assistance from the fee earner.
What should you provide?
Clarion’s Costs Team pride themselves on the turnaround time and the quality of the work produced.
To enable us to do the best possible job, we need as much information as possible from you to paint a picture of the case for the Senior Courts Costs Office. This requires a complete file of papers with evidence for all work done. If we have all information and papers from you, we are able to prepare the bill of costs quicker for submission to the SCCO. It goes without saying that as Deputies, you are all extremely busy, but an extra ten minutes to ensure completeness of your file can save a lot of lost time and unbilled WIP.
It can also be a huge assistance to us if a brief synopsis of your case in your letter of instruction is provided. We will go through your file of papers page by page, but we will never know as much about your cases as you will. The Costs Draftsman can then use this as the basis for the narrative in your Bill of Costs. We will also have a better understanding of what sort of matter we are costing and the complexities throughout, which can be relayed throughout the Bill of Costs for the Costs Officer’s attention.
It is vital that travel disbursements and Counsel’s fees are included in the Bill of Costs. Counsel’s fees must be assessed, so ensure that you have an agreement in place with any Chambers about potential short fall fees from the outset.
Following the recent decision in PLK & Ors, it is essential that your charges do not breach the Indemnity Principle. If there are any retainer letters or fee agreements for your case, we need to know about them. The increased hourly rates can only be applied if your authority allows you to claim them. It’s vital that you are within your OPG105 estimate too, to prevent being penalised on assessment.
How we can help
Clarion Costs Team is on hand to guide you through the billing process and if you are unsure of anything, please contact us via telephone or email, and we will do our best to assist you.
You can find out more about our services here or you can contact the Costs and Litigation Funding team at COPCosts@clarionsolicitors.com.