My clients represented themselves in proceedings and were ordered to pay the other side’s costs. They were served with a very large Bill of Costs for the other side’s solicitors, which were to be assessed. The clients therefore had to prepare Points of Dispute.
I have lots of contacts with costs draftsmen. I recommended my clients to some of them to get a quote for drafting Points of Dispute, which turned out to be too expensive for the clients. We came up with a different, more cost effective, solution for them. We had a meeting for them to tell me a bit about their case and give me key documents. Working on an agreed fixed fee, I then drafted the key points of principle and a few of the points of detail; I provided a template for the remaining points of detail so that the clients could complete these themselves, using the ones I had completed as examples – they could do that much more quickly than me or anyone else (and at no cost, except their time) because they were familiar with the case and the documents; I was available to answer queries as they came up, and then to review their draft so that it could be finalised for serving.
This is not for everyone. It meant a lot of work for the clients completing the detail, but they had the time to do that within a relative short timescale. However, they have produced a professional looking document in the correct format, with the key points made, at the cost of less than a dozen hours of my time, rather than several dozen hours from a costs draftsman.
“Thanks for this…I really appreciate your help”
I recently concluded a case for different clients who were similarly faced with a detailed assessment of their opponent’s costs. We put in detailed Points of Dispute (on this occasion I did all the drafting). Although the opponent was entitled to costs on the indemnity basis (which is usually more favourable than costs on the standard basis), the clients were able to negotiate a reduction of about 30% to the other side’s costs.
Clearly the amount of the potential saving will vary from case to case, but this gives a good idea of what is possible. On a Bill of Costs for tens of thousand of pounds, the potential savings certainly justify the cost of getting some professional advice.
“You have been very helpful and supportive at a very difficult time for us”