How to…Detailed Assessment Hearings and the World of Provisional Assessment

The journey through Detailed Assessment proceedings involves several crucial stages, each contributing to the fair and accurate determination of costs. In this blog, we explore CPR 47.14, shedding light on Detailed Assessment hearings, and CPR 47.15, which looks at Provisional Assessment.

Commencement of Detailed Assessment Hearings (Rule 47.14):

The receiving party must file a request for a Detailed Assessment hearing within three months of the expiry of the period for commencing Detailed Assessment proceedings, as specified in CPR 47.7 (or any Court Order).

If a party fails to file the request within the specified time, this opens the door for the paying party to apply for an order compelling the receiving party to act and have the matter set down for Assessment. The court, upon application, may disallow all or part of the costs the receiving party would otherwise be entitled to if the request is not made within the Court-specified timeframe.

Only the receiving party, the paying party, and any party who has served points of dispute under CPR 47.9 may be heard at the Detailed Assessment hearing unless the Court grants permission. Additionally, only items specified in the Points of Dispute may be raised at the hearing unless the Court provides otherwise – this is a key point as it ensures that a Detailed Assessment does not become a free-for-all.

If the assessment spans multiple hearings, the time for appealing, will not commence until the conclusion of the final hearing unless the court orders otherwise.

The Costs in respect of the Detailed Assessment are not limited in the same way as Provisional Assessment Fees are (as set out below).

Provisional Assessment (Rule 47.15):

CPR 47.15 applies to Detailed Assessment proceedings commenced on or after April 1, 2013, where the costs claimed are over £75,000.00.

The Court undertakes a Provisional Assessment based on Form N258 and relevant supporting documents (as set out within form N258). This assessment relies on the bill, supporting papers, and contentions outlined in the Points of Dispute and Replies.

In cases where proceedings do not progress beyond Provisional Assessment, the maximum costs awarded for the assessment are £1,500, plus applicable VAT and Court fees.

Parties have 21 days from receiving the notice of the provisionally assessed bill to challenge it. A written request for an oral hearing must be filed, identifying specific items to be reviewed, and providing a time estimate for the hearing – again, the Court will only deal with the specific objections raised.

The Court, upon a valid request for appeal, will set a hearing date, providing at least 14 days' notice to all parties. The party requesting the oral hearing bears the costs unless they achieve an adjustment in their favour by 20% or more of the provisionally assessed sum.

In conclusion, the major point to consider is the potential costs implications of Detailed Assessment and Provisional Assessment. The benefit of Provisional Assessment is knowing what your potential liability will be if you are unsuccessful however, if you require Detailed Assessment there is a commercial decision to be made as to whether the potential returns is worth the potential outlay.

For more information, contact Karl Robson here.

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