Kerry Underwood


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On 24 July 2020, Master Gordon-Saker, the Senior Costs Judge, published a Practice Note relating to hearings and detailed assessments in the Senior Courts Costs Office from 1 August 2020, based on experience during the pandemic.

 Detailed assessment hearings

  • The format of the hearings (remote, partly remote, or in-person) will be decided by the costs judge or costs officer, and stated on the notice of hearing sent by the court.
  • Parties may apply in writing for a different format, within 14 days of receiving the notice of hearing.

The court will make the arrangements for video hearings, and invitations will be sent to the representatives nominated by the parties.

For telephone hearings, the receiving party should arrange the conference call in accordance with paragraph 6.10 of Practice Direction 23A, unless the court has directed otherwise.

Filing papers in support of the bill of costs

  • The Practice Note encourages electronic filing, and prescribes specific requirements for filing via the Courts Electronic Filing system (CE-File), the HMCTS Document Upload Centre, or through a safe third-party online file sharing platform.
  • Where papers are filed non-electronically, the receiving party is nonetheless expected to file an electronic bundle of key documents, for which the Practice Note provides specific filing requirements and deadlines.

Filing other documents

  • Parties should electronically file any documents which they intend to refer to at a hearing, as handing up documents in hearings may not now be permitted.
  • Skeleton arguments must be filed electronically (by CE-File or email) at least two days before the hearing. Statements of costs for summary assessment must be filed using CE-File, not less than 24 hours before the hearing.

Provisional assessments

  • The guidance on detailed assessment hearings applies to oral hearings of provisional assessments, as well as appeals from costs officers.
  • Between-the-parties bills under £75,000 will continue to be provisionally assessed, although the receiving party is not required to file papers in support of the bill unless the court expressly requests this.

Bills of a deputy appointed by the Court of Protection.

  • On the provisional assessment of such bills, the deputy’s solicitor must still file the papers in support of the bill together with the bill. Electronic filing is similarly encouraged here.

Written by kerryunderwood

July 30, 2020 at 11:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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