The day has arrived where the new mandatory electronic bill of costs comes into effect.
It appears to have been eerily silent of late with little to no mention of the electronic bill in the media or popular costs blog sites. This may be as a result of people ‘burying their head in the sand’ and hoping the date would be delayed further however this is most certainly not the case.
It is no surprise that the most firms do not appear to be in any way ready for the new format and have made little or no change to the way they currently work to accommodate this.
At KE Costs Lawyers, we have been working tirelessly on the new bill format together with our computer systems so that we can ensure our clients still receive the excellent service they have become accustomed to with no disruption.
You will note from our previous posts regarding the electronic bill that in order to produce a self-populating electronic bill of costs, case management software will need to be updated to ensure each phase, activity and task assigns the correct corresponding J-Code. Although, use of the new electronic bill of costs will be mandatory, use of J-codes will not. However, the current Practice Direction 51L does state the format of any new bill of costs must have “reports summary totals in a form comparable to Precedent AB”. Therefore, if you decide not to utilise J-Codes, you will still be required to use something very similar, or you will be at risk of having a defective bill.
Although, the new electronic Bill of Costs has been designed to automatically populate from the law firms case management system, there is still the requirement to include a narrative and chronology together with the Precedent Q and other documentation required to ensure the costs management order influences the detailed assessment proceedings. Once the self-populating bill is served the Solicitors themselves would then have to proceed through the minefield of detailed assessment proceedings. It would appear to remain cost effective to outsource all this work to a costs professional as the cost of budgeting and the cost of detailed assessment proceedings continue to be recoverable on an inter partes basis. You will still therefore be able to outsource your costs recovery work and those costs companies utilised can continue to offer a costs neutral service.
If however you have not updated your case management system and are having difficulty with the new electronic bill, we are always happy to assist.
Contact us today to find out how we can assist in all areas of costs, ensuring the best service and recovery.