Save the date - The New Electronic Bill of Costs will be introduced on 6 April 2018, say Gordon-Saker and Hutton
Last week, at the Costs Law Report Conference 2017, Andrew Gordon-Saker (Senior Costs Judge) and Alex Hutton QC (head of the committee overseeing the new bill format) confirmed that the new Electronic Bill of Costs will be introduced on 6 April 2018.
The Civil Procedure Rule Committee has confirmed that the new electronic Bill of Costs will represent “a major change in the way litigators operate”. Initially, this will only apply to the SCCO, but it stands to reason that this will become mandatory in all other Courts very soon afterwards.
Currently, the rules regarding the new Bill of Costs can be found within Practice Direction 51L (which supplements CPR 47.6 and paragraph 5.1 of Practice Direction 47). Whether the July amendments to the CPR will make any changes to the Pilot Scheme remains to be seen. However, given the SCCO reported that no bills were assessed under the Pilot, one suspects not.
Goodbye to J-Codes. Hello to Phases, Tasks & Activities
The intention is that the new Bill of Costs will be prepared in an Excel format to allow automatic and immediate recalculation of the Bill.
To enable this, fee earners are encouraged to alter the way they record time. The Law Society has advised its members, and in particular civil litigators, to be aware of the upcoming changes which ‘will present a significant change of practice in terms of recording time’. While ‘J-Codes’ have gone, it will be necessary to record time in 1 of 15 different Phases. Having done so, there is a further requirement to allocate the work done within the Phase to 1 of 41 different Tasks, and thereafter 1 of 10 Activities.
Disbursements are not immune to the changes either. They will also need to be put into Phases and Tasks, and then broken down further into 1 of 15 (so far) Categories.
We’re Fully Prepared
While the new rules will introduce additional layers of complexity with the implementation of Phases, Tasks and Activities, Civil & Commercial Costs Lawyers is fully prepared to make your life easier.
If your Firm has already implemented the time recording changes, we have the software required to process this information into the new format electronic Bill of Costs.
If you are still using old time recording systems or paper files, there is no need to worry. At Civil & Commercial Costs Lawyers, our staff are fully conversant with the new rules and can analyse your time sheets and files to ensure that your Bills will be compliant come the April deadline.
Anil Virji- Head of Costs at Civil and Commercial Costs Lawyers
John Hilton - Operations Manager & Costs Lawyer at Civil and Commercial Costs Lawyers
If you would like to speak to Anil, John or the rest of our experienced team about the new electronic Bill of Costs, or any other Costs issue, give us a call on 020 7842 5950 (London), 0161 255 2788 (Manchester), or send us your enquiry online.