Provisional assessment is meant to take place without the judge undertaking the assessment seeing the receiving party’s file of papers.
The Senior Courts Costs Office has apparently recognised that this is costs cuckoo land and will be requiring receiving parties to file their full papers in all cases (a requirement the court is permitted to impose under the rules).
At first blush this is a step that both paying and receiving parties will welcome. However, there is a sting in the tail for receiving parties.
Costs Judges and Costs Officers are not going to have the time to wade through a box or boxes of jumbled papers looking for a copy of an advice from counsel or a relevant attendance note. It will be essential to ensure the papers lodged with the Court are in apple pie order. This probably means all relevant papers need to be fully bundled, indexed and paginated. This will be a time consuming task for bills of up to £75,000. The more challenges made the more papers need to be carefully identified in the index so the judge can quickly locate the item.
All this extra work comes out of the £1,500 maximum costs recoverable for the provisional assessment process.