New bill of costs—when will it be mandatory?

New bill of costs—when will it be mandatory?

The introduction of mandatory use of the new electronic bill of costs was due to start in October 2017. This has been postponed with the likely date being April 2018. This is to allow for the mandatory use of the new bill of costs to apply in the County Courts as well as the High Court.

Before it’s here, it’s on Lexis®PSL. Click here to take a free trial.

Making the new bill of costs pilot scheme mandatory

The pilot scheme (CPR PD 51L) came into force on 1 October 2015 and has seen two extensions. The second extension in July 2016 saw a rewrite of the practice direction to include the following timetable:

'1.1A The timetable for this Pilot Scheme is as follows:

(a) the Pilot Scheme in its amended form will come into effect on 3 October 2016 with a view to establishing a mandatory form of bill of costs to apply to all work done after 1 October 2017;

(b) the Rule Committee will monitor and review the Pilot Scheme and aim to fix the mandatory form of the new bill of costs at its meeting in May 2017.'

The CPR Committee meeting minutes of May 2017 agreed for it to become mandatory in October 2017. However, on 21 June 2017 the Ministry of Justice advised that this date had been postponed. Following on from that on 22 June 2017 it circulated the documents put before the CPR Committee at its June 2017 meeting. The documents set out why the position has changed and a proposed date for the scheme to become mandatory was given as 6 April 2018. However, there has been no confirmation from the Ministry of Justice that the 6 April 2018 date, as set out in the papers, was the date agreed on at the meeting.

The reason for the further delay is the extension of the use of the new bill of costs to the County Courts and the additional time required to ensure that the implementation can be effective eg IT systems in place and training for judges. For the rationale behind the proposed 6 April 2018 date, see:

June 2017 Item 4 New Bill of Costs CPR(17)37.Paper

For information as to the background for making the pilot scheme mandatory, see documents:

A new format for the Bill of Costs in detailed assessments—making the piloted scheme mandatory

June 2017 Item 4a The New Bill of Costs implementation update CPR(17)41

Note that no information has been forthcoming as to whether the voluntary pilot scheme itself will now be extended for a third time until 5 April 2017, although that is likely.

Why it is the pilot scheme to be made mandatory

The introduction of a mandatory bill of costs has been fraught with difficulties and the feedback on its introduction has been mixed. The recommendation to make it mandatory was set out for the CPR Committee in the following document at [24]:

A new format for the Bill of Costs in detailed assessments—making the piloted scheme mandatory

Changes to CPR 47 and CPR PD 47

The mandatory use of the new bill of costs will require amendments to both CPR 47 and the associated practice direction. Proposed changes put before the CPR Committee were relatively small. The proposed changes are set out in the two documents below. Please note that the Ministry of Justice, in circulating these documents, specifically stated that:

'Please note that not all the rule and practice direction amendments agreed by the Committee are contained in the drafts.'

June 2017 Item 4 New Bill of Costs Annex A—changes to CPR 47

June 2017 Item 4 New Bill of Costs Annex B changes to CPR PD 47

Explanations for the changes proposed are set out in the following document at [29] onwards:

A new format for the Bill of Costs in detailed assessments—making the piloted scheme mandatory (downloads a PDF)

New bill of costs—precedent S

The following spreadsheets were provided to the CPR Committee:

Precedent S—blank template

Precedent S—Example Data

What next?

Alexander Hutton QC, who had led much of the work on the introduction of the electronic bill of costs has been clear that once in place other costs documentation within civil proceedings would be looked at. The paper setting out why the scheme should be mandatory refers to summary assessment with the recommendation that:

' if the new bill is to be made mandatory the next logical step is to consider whether to make amendments to form N260—the statement of costs used for summary assessment—in order to bring it into line with the new bill format. It makes good sense (and Jackson LJ always envisaged) that this would be one of the tasks to undertake once this reform had taken place. A number of users made the same point to members of the sub-committee. The sub-committee is willing to take this forward if the CPRC wish us to do so.'

See document: A new format for the Bill of Costs in detailed assessments—making the piloted scheme mandatory, at [28]

We will have to wait for the minutes of the June 2017 CPR Committee meeting to see whether this recommendation is to be taken forward.

Some of the links require a subscription to LexisPSL Dispute ResolutionClick here to take a free trial.

 

Subscription Form

Related Articles:
Latest Articles:

Access this article and thousands of others like it free by subscribing to our blog.

Read full article

Already a subscriber? Login

About the author:

Janna is a dispute resolution lawyer with a Masters in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution. During her time in private practice at both Herbert Smith and Denton Wilde Sapte (now Dentons) she worked on complex international disputes, both litigation and LMAA arbitrations, dealing with technical cross border issues.

Janna deals primarily with cross border issues and is active in the work being undertaken in relation to the implications of Brexit for Dispute Resolutions lawyers. She also heads up a LexisNexis costs team bringing together expertise from across the company to deal with the costs issues facing the profession and was a contributing author for the Cook on Costs supplement dealing with the Jackson reforms. Janna is a frequent contributor to the legal and professional press, including the New Law Journal and Counsel magazine.