Who are the interested parties and who should be served in COP cases?

An interested party is anyone with a financial interest in the outcome of the assessment. Rule 47.19 of the CPR enables the court to direct under rule 47.19(3) that the receiving party must serve a copy of the request for assessment and copies of the documents which accompany it, on any person who has a financial interest in the outcome of the assessment.

Practice Direction 47, para (18.2) explains what is or is not a ‘financial interest’. It states ‘A person has a financial interest in the outcome of the assessment if the assessment will or may affect the amount of money or property to which that person is or may become entitled out of the fund. Where an interest in the fund is itself held by a trustee for the benefit of some other person, that trustee will be treated as the person having such a financial interest unless it is not appropriate to do so. ‘Trustee’ includes a personal representative, receiver or any other person acting in a fiduciary capacity’.

The SCCO expect the professional Deputy to determine who such an interested party may be and for the Deputy to take a sensible, pragmatic approach. It may not be appropriate to serve every beneficiary of P’s estate, for example. It is recommended that any interested parties are highlighted for the SCCO’s attention when e-filing your bill of costs.

Sometimes the SCCO will indicate on the assessment that the bill of costs needs to be served on the interested parties, but even where they don’t state that, it is up to the Deputy or Claimant to decide if the bill should be served. There have been instances where a Final Costs Certificate has been obtained and an interested party has come forward asking why they were not served at the time, wishing to challenge the outcome of the assessment. If the SCCO decided that party should have been served, the Claimant may be liable for the costs of that additional process as a result of not following procedure.

The link to the procedure rules can be found at: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part-47-procedure-for-detailed-assessment/practice-direction-46-costs-special-cases2#18.1

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Casey Mcgregor at casey.mcgregor@clarionsolicitors.com

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