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The Senior Courts Costs Office Guide 2013 has been published (although may not be on the Court website yet). This is the first update since 2006.
It is not a bad starting point for those unfamiliar with the assessment process, and many who should already be familiar would no doubt benefit from reading this.
The Guide contains a number of interesting comments and observations beyond a simple recital of the rules.
No doubt sick already of misconceived applications to strike out Points of Dispute due to a failure to make an open offer when serving them, the Guide states:
“Section 8.3 of Practice Direction 47 requires the paying party, on serving Points of Dispute (see section 6 above) to state in an open letter what sum, if any, that party offers to pay in settlement. If no open offer is made the receiving party may, by letter request one and, if it is still not forthcoming, may, if appropriate, apply to the court for an order compelling compliance with the Practice Direction.”
So, the best a receiving party can hope for is that if a request by letter fails to induce compliance that an unless order will be made.
Unfortunately, the Guide wrongly implies that there is a duty to make an “open offer”. No, the duty is only to state in an open letter “what sum, if any” is being offered. Again, a party is free to state they have no offer to make.