Those responsible for preparing the Court Forms have not been slow to prepare for the Jackson changes.
A new N258 – Request for Provisional Detailed Assessment has been released. This is rather misleadingly titled as it also covers requests for detailed assessment where the amount claimed is over £75,000.
The old N258 appears to have been renumbered the D258 and should presumably still be used for detailed assessment proceedings commenced before 1st April 2013.
The new N258 repeats the wording of the new rules and states that the documents in support of the request should include: “a statement of the costs claimed in respect of the detailed assessment based on the assumption that there will not be an oral hearing; and the offers made (those marked ‘without prejudice save as to costs’ or made under Part 36 must be contained in a sealed envelope, marked ‘Part 36 or similar offers’” (this only applies where there is a request for a provisional assessment).
I am still at a loss as to the reference to the singular “statement of the costs”. This implies it is just the receiving party’s statement. But what if the judge opens the sealed envelope, notes a paying party has succeeded on an offer and decides to award them their costs? The judge is unable to assess them as no statement of the paying party’s costs will have been lodged. Given a paying party does not need to be informed that a request for a provisional assessment has been made, and there will be no notice of a hearing (as there is none), the paying party has no opportunity to lodge their statement in any event.
Not thought through properly.
The new and old forms can be found on Legal Costs Central.