Assessment of costs
Produced in partnership with David Salter of Deputy High Court judge and Recorder
Assessment of costs

The following Family practice note produced in partnership with David Salter of Deputy High Court judge and Recorder provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Assessment of costs
  • Private costs
  • Legal aid costs
  • Authority to assess and when
  • Summary assessment
  • Detailed assessment
  • Detailed assessment procedure
  • Points of dispute
  • Procedure following points of dispute
  • Default costs certificate

Assessment of costs

This Practice Note provides guidance on the assessment of costs in family proceedings, including summary assessment and detailed assessment. It looks at assessment on the standard basis and the indemnity basis in private proceedings, publicly funded costs, the authority to assess and when, and the procedure to deal with points of dispute and default costs certificates. It is primarily concerned with inter partes costs. For further practical guidance on solicitor and own client costs, see Practice Note: Client care—family law — Costs.

Private costs

The court will decide whether private costs should be assessed on either the:

  1. standard basis—whereby costs will be allowed that are proportionate to the matters in issue, with any doubt as to whether they were reasonably incurred or reasonable and proportionate being resolved in favour of the paying party, with the court having regard to all the circumstances

  2. indemnity basis (rare)—where any doubt as to whether costs are reasonably incurred or reasonable in amount is resolved in favour of the receiving party, consequently the amount recoverable under an indemnity costs order is significantly higher, with the court having regard to all the circumstances

Orders for costs on an indemnity basis are relatively rare and an award for costs on an indemnity basis should only be allowed where there has been a high degree of unreasonableness in the conduct of the proceedings

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