Proposals are underway to revamp the much maligned Bill of Costs. Whilst not an accusation leveled at our often praised bills, it is often the case that there is a distinct absence of detail within bills and Lord Jackson has claimed that the production of bills of costs should be reduced to the push of a button, thus generating pristine bills full of detail that are readily viewable, adaptable and alterable so all parties can change them to see varying outcomes. This will ultimately lead to reduced time preparing the bills and reduced time adding up the bills following a detailed assessment.
At CLC, we are already able to do both the readily amendable and instant calculations as proven at a recent detailed assessment where half a million pounds worth of costs across a number of bills were ready by the time the Judge had made his order. But this misses a trick. The fact that the Costs Lawyer has taken the time to read the file and prepare the bill knowing what he can and cannot reasonably expect to recover is removed by Jackson’s proposals, and in addition, time spent preparing and considering is increased to reflect the fact the Costs Lawyer is less familiar with the case.
As such, it is highly debatable whether what Jackson aims to achieve will be achieved.