Interim Statute Bills Versus Requests For Payment On Account

“It is entirely routine for clients to seek Section 70 Detailed Assessment and for there to be a dispute between the parties as to whether the Bill in question is an interim statute, or interim non-statute, Bill. If the Solicitor prevails in arguing that it is an interim statute Bill and beyond the scope of Detailed Assessment, that is the end of it. However, if the client prevails in arguing that it is an interim non-statute Bill, the usual outcome is for an order that the Solicitor should render a final Bill for those costs, that will enable the same to be assessed as the client wishes.”

In this lengthy judgment Master James (costs judge) dealt with a number of issues arising in the course of this detailed assessment.

One of the issues she was tasked with deciding was whether one of the bills rendered to the client constituted a compliant statute bill and was, therefore, out of time to be assessed.

The decision contains a helpful look at the established principles governing the rights of solicitors to render interim statute bills, the requisite form and content of the same and the courts’ approach to determining the issue where the validity of such a bill, or the right to have rendered it, is in dispute.

“…in my judgment the costs contained within the Bill, the subject of the Scope Application, are still capable of Detailed Assessment because I find as a question of fact (on the balance of probabilities) that it was only ever emailed to GEHC as a single sheet, with no timesheets provided in December 2012 or thereafter. ABC is (in my view) mistaken and has simply misremembered events when ABC says it was posted as well, with the timesheets but without any covering letter.”