Automatically generated bills of costs

The Jackson Final Report stated the purpose of the planned new case management software, for which the new J-Codes have recently been approved, was so the software included the ability to “automatically generate schedules for summary assessment or bills for detailed assessment as and when required”.

I’m currently dealing with a bill where the costs order was:

“The First Defendant shall pay 37.5% of the Claimant’s generic costs and disbursements of the action until the Second Defendant was added to the proceedings (19 November 2013) and the First Defendant shall pay 75% of the Claimant’s costs and disbursements as incurred solely against the First Defendant from 19 November onwards.”

I look forward to seeing the automatically generated bill that properly reflects that order.

You couldn’t make it up.

8 thoughts on “Automatically generated bills of costs

  1. But surely everybody knows that solicitors can provide this sort of information ‘at the touch of a button.’ It must be true, because judges keep on saying it.

  2. I completely agree. I appreciate the need to streamline the process on low value cases but I think that is achieved by fixed costs on the FT. I recently dealt with a case where costs were circa £400k and the order was as follows: D1 was ordered to pay the Claimant’s costs of the action save for the costs of pursuing D3; D2 was ordered to pay the Claimant’s costs of joining and pursuing D3 and 50% of the Claimant’s costs of her Appeal; D3 was ordered to pay 50% of the Appeal costs only.

    Not even Bill Gates and the late, great, Steve Jobs could write the codes for that one!

  3. I too have seen more issue based costs orders recently – J-codes just won’t cut it when you have to isolate the costs of 2 paragraphs of POC.

    From a practical standpoint, how can they work even in straight forward cases?

    I cannot see a fee earner spending 15 minutes trying to split his/her time between Phases after a 2 hour attendance dealt with several issues…unless that is a recoverable costs? An extra 6 mins per item for “Figuring out the J-code”?

    Will they just paste the content of a file note into a bill? Because based on the file notes I’ve seen over the last 15 years, that is unlikely to result in streamlined or useful bills.

    Anyone remember a very old case, the name of which escapes me (but it’s a classic) in which the Judge said that drafting was more art than science? That still holds true, and anyone who says differently really does not know what they are talking about.

  4. these issues would of course be anticipated by those involved in costs on a daily basis. it has always been pie in the sky to be able to present a bill/costs schedule at the press of a button. hopefully not too many in the profession are awaiting the ‘j’ codes as the saviour of all things that are bad in the current system……………..

    it is often beyond the ability of many professional people to record units of time let alone have to select the phase…. task….. activity as well as recording what time has been spent.

  5. The above simply falls in line with the perception of the judiciary as to just how long it takes to produce a Bill, namely no idea

  6. Sniggering comments aside, the reality is, this will become the norm for the majority of ordinary costs orders SUBJECT to the caveat the firm has employed J codes. I have previously posted on the imbalance this will create, where investing firms don’t get drafting fees,and non-investment is rewarded with drafting costs recovery

    the only winner, is the one who has the cost drafting software already being advertised……….

  7. Surely then the costs of preparing the bill will simply be transferred from costs draftsman at £100 p/h to, for instance, a Grade A Partner at £300 p/h.


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