The Costs Draftsman – An Essential Role
In these times of ever changing cost rules and regulations, the role of Costs Draftsman has become increasingly important. In Legal Aid matters, gone are the days when it was a simple choice of is this to be assessed by the Court or the LAA and a couple of options in respect of rates. Now there are Fixed Fees, Exceptional and Escape cases and numerous other factors to consider. As the availability of Legal Aid has decreased, in contrast the number of rules, guidelines, checklists etc. has increased dramatically.
Due to the increasing and ongoing changes, the role of a Costs Draftsman has become more complex, with a lot more time being spent actually researching information, keeping up to date with the most recent costing guidelines, as well as actually preparing Bills of Costs.
Instructing a Costs Draftsman can therefore be hugely beneficial to Solicitors, not only saving a Solicitor time at the end of a case, but also during proceedings, as a Costs Draftsman can provide much needed guidance on any costing/financial issues. The vast previous experience of a Costs Draftsman can be used to help or stop any potential difficulties. Also a Costs Draftsman can be used as a second pair of eyes in a case to ensure that any costs/disbursements or even rules are not missed. This is especially important in Legal Aid High Cost Case Plans where costs are agreed in stages as the case progresses.
With the mandatory use of the LAA’s Client and Cost Management System (CCMS) now coming into effect from 01 February 2016, the need for the use of Costs Draftsman will increase even more so. This new system, which has been deemed by many as ‘not fit for purpose,’ further complicates and lengthens the costing and payment process. Solicitors are already stretched as it is therefore instructing a Costs Draftsman to complete this part of the process is not only the most straightforward option for a Solicitor, but the most cost effective too!
If you have any queries in relation to the above, if you have any Legal Aid costing queries in general, or would like to know how Paramount Legal Costs can help you, please contact Claire Robson (Head of Care & Family) by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01228 815396.