Costs Draftsmen are concerned with all aspects of solicitors costs. The three main areas in which law costs draftsmen generally become involved are:
1.Solicitors and client costs:
These are costs payable by a client to his own solicitor. A client who is unhappy with his solicitors bill may challenge it and either party may apply to the court for the bill to be assessed. A law costs draftsman may be instructed to prepare a formal bill of costs to be lodged at court, advise on procedure and if instructed, argue in support or oppose the bill.
2. Costs payable between the parties:
The loser of a case is usually ordered to pay the winners costs and, in the event of those costs not being agreed via amicable negotiation, a formal bill is drafted and served. The paying party must serve points of dispute and the receiving party may serve replies before the bill is lodged at court and a detailed assessment hearing takes place where the points are argued and the court costs officer makes a decision as to what is reasonable. A costs draftsman will often be instructed to prepare the formal bill, draft replies to points of dispute and attend any subsequent assessment hearing.
3. Public Funded (Legal Aid) costs:
Where a solicitor is representing a client with the benefit of Legal Aid, a formal bill is usually required so that the costs may be assessed by the court or the LSC (Legal Services Commission). Such bills are usually assessed without a formal assessment hearing, however if the solicitor wishes to object, an appointment can be obtained and the matter may be argued at a hearing. In criminal cases any objection to the amount disallowed can be made in writing and a costs draftsman may be instructed to prepare the written submissions.
SCCO guideline rates – Supreme Courts Costs Office
The hourly rates are in line with the hourly rates published by the SCCO and / or individual county courts. Please note that these are guideline rates only. For the most part, the rates are those allowed on Summary Assessment, therefore mainly applicable to Fast Track cases. Courts may allow higher hourly rates in Multi-Track cases.