As a general rule, bills not exceeding £50,000 (excluding VAT) will be allocated to a costs officer. Larger bills will be allocated to a Costs Judge. Costs Judges also assess bills with a value below £50,000, excluding VAT, where they are linked to other bills which exceed that sum, involve complex legal argument, or involve an assessment under the Solicitors Act 1974. Where the total costs claimed in a bill between parties do not exceed £75,000 the bill will be assessed provisionally (see Section 13).
On receipt of a form of request for a detailed assessment hearing, duly completed, the court clerk will enter the case on the computer, give it a reference number and then assign the case to a costs officer or Costs Judge. The court clerk will then prepare an acknowledgment of the request which gives details of the reference number and the initials of the costs officer or Costs Judge to whom it has been assigned.
Where the parties are agreed that the detailed assessment should not be made by a costs officer the receiving party should so inform the court clerk when filing the request. The court clerk will then assign the case to a Costs Judge.
After a case has been assigned to a costs officer, a party who objects to the detailed assessment being made by a costs officer must apply to a Costs Judge under CPR 23 setting out the reasons for the objection. If sufficient reason is shown the court will direct that the bill should be assessed by a Costs Judge.