Who can sign costs pleadings?

Who can sign costs pleadings?

There is sometimes a bit of confusion over who can certify the various different costs documents. The confusion no doubt arises because the rules are slightly different depending on which document you are dealing with. With that in mind we thought it would be useful to set out the rules applicable to Bills of Costs, Precedent H / Costs Budgets and N260 / Statements of Costs below :

Precedent S / Bill of Costs

There is often a misconception that a Bill of Costs has to be signed by a Partner. This is not the case. The rules (CPR 47 PD 5.21) state that a bill must contain the appropriate certificates as set out in the precedents. The precedent certificates themselves state that they “must be signed by the receiving party or by his solicitor”.

The certificate as to accuracy is essentially the confirmation to the Court that the indemnity principle has not been breached. The key case on the point being Bailey v IBC Vehicles which confirmed that this should be certified by an “officer of the court”. We would therefore recommend that your bills are signed by a Solicitor though not necessarily a Partner.

The final point to note on bills is that the signature must be identifiable as per the judgment in AKC v Barking, Havering & Redbridge. It is not sufficient to sign in the name of the firm and the signature must be legible or have the name printed below.

Precedent H / Costs Budgets

The signature on a Budget is dealt with specifically under CPR 3.13(5) which states that it must be “dated and verified by a statement of truth signed by a senior legal representative of the party”. Budgets therefore can be signed by other ‘senior legal representatives’ aside from just Solicitors.

N260 / Statement of costs

Like the Bill of Costs, the precedent form N260 asks for the ‘name of Partner signing’. However, the rules do not require a Partner to sign. CPR 44 PD 9.5 (3) states that a statement of costs for summary assessment should “follow as closely as possible Form N260 and must be signed by the party or the party's legal representative”. The rules then refer us back to CPR 2.3 for the definition of legal representative which is a barrister, solicitor, or solicitor’s employee.

For further information or if you have any questions regarding this summary please contact Helen Spalding here.

 

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