On the initial return date of the application for adjudication, or on any date to which that application is adjourned, the Legal Costs Adjudicator may, if he does not proceed to adjudicate the bill of costs:
- give directions as to the service of notice of the adjudication on any other person;
- give such further directions, if any, as he considers necessary as to the furnishing of further documents, records and vouchers to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator or to other parties to the adjudication;
- give directions as to the delivery and filing of written submissions for the purposes of the adjudication;
- give such further directions in exercise of the powers available under the 2015 Act and this Order as he considers convenient for the determination of the adjudication in a manner which is just, expeditious and likely to minimise the costs of the adjudication.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator may direct production of documents and records and vouchers to him or to other parties to the adjudication
- require any party to be represented by a separate solicitor
- generally to do so acts as he considers necessary.
An index or schedule of the documents included in each brief shall be produced on adjudication if required by the Legal Costs Adjudicator. Subject to directions there shall be produced on adjudication the documents or portions of documents entered in evidence or produced at any hearing in respect of which a charge is claimed in the bill of costs.
Accounts for disbursements charged in a bill of costs, together with all rulings, orders, reports and other important documents shall be produced. There shall be produced on adjudication all drafts and other documents in respect of the preparation of which a charge is claimed in the bill of costs.
Subject to the direction of the Legal Costs Adjudicator, there shall be produced or provided on adjudication the following details in respect of each witness in respect of whom expenses are claimed in a bill of costs:
- the person’s name, address and occupation;
- the place at which the person was subpoenaed;
- the distance the person had to travel for the purpose of attending the trial;
- the dates on which the person was required to attend at the trial;
- where applicable, the loss of income, duly certified, claimed by the person arising from the requirement to attend at trial;
- the note of the evidence of such person as briefed to counsel for the trial.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator may allow a legal practitioner or legal costs accountant attending to oppose the adjudication of costs, otherwise than as between party and party, proper charges for his preparation and attendance.
In cases of special difficulty and importance involving questions of principle, the Legal Costs Adjudicator may allow, as part of the costs of adjudication, the expenses of counsel appearing before him.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator, in adjudicating any subsequent costs in the same cause or matter,
- shall have regard to the preceding bill(s) or other costs or charges arising out of the same or similar matters, and
- for that purpose may require production by a party of information relating to the matter or matters which he considers relevant.
If, during the adjudication of any bill of costs or the taking of any account between legal practitioner and client, it appears that there must in any event be moneys payable by the solicitor to the client, the Legal Costs Adjudicator may from time to time make an interim certificate as to the amount so payable by the solicitor. On the filing of such certificate the Court may order the moneys so certified to be paid forthwith to the client or brought into Court.
The adjudication shall, if possible, be continued without interruption until completed, but if adjourned for any reason notice of the adjournment shall be given to any legal practitioner not present at the time of the adjournment whose attendance at the adjourned hearing is necessary or proper.
For the purposes of determining an application for adjudication of legal costs, a Legal Costs Adjudicator may
- inspect documents relating to or relevant to the matter concerned, and
- where there is an oral hearing, summon and examine witnesses and administer oaths, and apply to the High Court for the enforcement of a summons.
A Legal Costs Adjudicator may invite the parties to an adjudication to refer their dispute to mediation or another informal resolution process if he or she considers that to do so would be appropriate in all the circumstances, whether or not any of the parties have requested that the Legal Costs Adjudicator do so. If the parties agree to refer their dispute to mediation or other process the Legal Costs Adjudicator shall adjourn the determination of the application and may give any other direction that he or she considers will facilitate the resolution of the dispute.
An oral hearing held for the purposes of an adjudication shall be held in public unless, in the opinion of the Legal Costs Adjudicator, the hearing or part thereof ought, in the interests of justice, be held otherwise than in public.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator may direct what parties are to attend before him on the adjudication of costs to be borne by a fund or estate, and may disallow the costs of any party whose attendance he shall in his discretion consider unnecessary in consequence of the interest of such party in such fund or estate being small or remote, or adequately protected by other parties interested, or for other sufficient reason.
Privilege in respect of adjudications
Proceedings and documents created or furnished to the parties to a legal costs adjudication are absolutely privileged except—
- to the extent required for an appeal from the determination of a Legal Costs Adjudicator, and
- in relation to a mediation or other procedure for the resolution of disputes as to the legal costs concerned.
Subject to any provision of statute, the Legal Costs Adjudicator may limit or extend the time for any proceedings before him. Where, by these Rules, a time is appointed for any proceedings before or by a Legal Costs Adjudicator, unless the Court otherwise directs, such Legal Costs Adjudicator may from time to time extend the time appointed upon such terms (if any) as the justice of the case requires, and although the application for the same is not made until after the expiration of the time appointed.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator may, with the consent of the parties, conduct an adjudication without an oral hearing where he or she is of the opinion that it is expedient and in the interests of justice to do so.
Legal Costs Adjudicator is to record details of all items allowed or disallowed on a bill of costs. The bill is lodged is retained in paper or electronic form.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator shall, if he or she considers it appropriate to do so, and upon the application of the party entitled to the costs, issue an interim determination pending consideration of an application in respect of—
- the remainder of the matters or items in the determination to which no objection has been made, and
- such of the matters or items that are subject of the application as the Legal Costs Adjudicator considers reasonable.
On the completion by the Legal Costs Adjudicator of the adjudication of a bill of costs, the legal practitioner shall take up the certificate of determination within a period of 21 days or such further period as the Court or the Legal Costs Adjudicator may allow.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator, having made a determination, shall prepare a report
- where he or she considers it to be in the public interest, or upon request by any party to the adjudication, made not later than 14 days after
- the making of the determination.
The report shall set out the matters or items the subject of the adjudication and a brief outline of the background to the provision of the legal
services concerned and the principal issues relating to the context of the provision of those services and—
- specify the work involved relating to the matters or items the subject of the adjudication, which was considered in reaching the determination, specify the various stages of the legal services and the stage of the legal process
- at which such work was carried out by reference to distinct aspects of the course of the work,
- set out a summary of the written or oral submissions made by or on behalf of the parties to the adjudication, and
- give reasons for his or her determination.
A copy of any report shall be furnished to any requesting party to the adjudication as soon as practicable after it has been prepared.
Effect of determination
The determination of a Legal Costs Adjudicator is final and shall take effect 20 days after it is furnished to the parties to the adjudication.
Where an adjudication concerns only legal costs as between a legal practitioner and his or her client, and the Legal Costs Adjudicator has determined that the aggregate of the amounts to be paid is less than 15 per cent lower than the aggregate of those amounts set out in the bill of costs, the party chargeable to those costs shall pay the costs of the adjudication.
Where a Legal Costs Adjudicator has determined that the aggregate of the amounts to be paid in respect of the legal costs is 15 per cent or more than 15 per cent lower than the aggregate of those amounts set out in the bill of costs, the legal practitioner who issued the bill of costs shall be responsible for the costs of the adjudication. The Legal Costs Adjudicator may determine that the costs of the adjudication be set-off against the aggregate amount determined.
Reference to High Court
A Legal Costs Adjudicator may, whether or not at the request of a party to an application for adjudication of legal costs, refer a question of law arising in the application to the High Court for the opinion of that Court. Where, in the determination of an application, a question as to the enforceability of an agreement on fees arises, a Legal Costs Adjudicator shall refer he agreement to the High Court and the High Court shall decide if, and to what extent, the agreement is enforceable and—
- if it considers that the agreement is enforceable, it shall make the order that it considers appropriate to enforce the agreement, or
- if it considers that the agreement is not enforceable, it shall direct that the adjudication of the legal costs proceed as if no agreement had been entered into.
If a question has been referred to the High Court under this section, a Legal Costs Adjudicator may not—
- make a determination to which the question is relevant while the reference is pending, or
- proceed in a manner, or make a determination, that is inconsistent with the opinion of the High Court on the question.
The client shall be entitled to deduct from the bill of costs, any fee allowed or payable to such legal practitioner for attending on and opposing the adjudication. The client shall also be entitled to deduct from the said bill of costs the costs of adjudication, the court fee on the bill of costs and on the certificate of determination, the fee for drawing the bill of costs and for attending the adjudication or any of them.
The foregoing provisions apply in cases of the adjudication of a bill of costs payable out of a fund or estate or out of the assets of a company in liquidation, as well as between legal practitioner and client.
Where, on the adjudication of any bill of costs it appears to the Legal Costs Adjudicator that it is necessary to inspect any books, papers or documents relating to the cause or matter, the Legal Costs Adjudicator may request the Registrar or Examiner who has the custody of such books, papers or documents to cause the same to be transmitted to the office of the Legal Costs Adjudicator.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator may also request such Registrar or Examiner to certify any proceedings which may be comprised in the bill of costs under adjudication. In such cases, the Registrar or Examiner shall as soon as may be convenient cause such books, papers and documents to be transmitted to the office of the Legal Costs Adjudicator for his use during the adjudication and shall certify the proceedings which have taken place according to the request of the Legal Costs Adjudicator. After the costs have been certified, the Legal Costs Adjudicator shall cause the same books, papers and documents to be returned.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator may allow such sum as he considers reasonable for printing or reproducing, including by electronic means, copies of pleadings, answers and other documents where he considers the printing or reproduction to have been necessary or proper.
Fees to be allowed in respect of transcript writers shall be of such amount as to the Legal Costs Adjudicator seems reasonable.
A transcript of evidence required by any party to be furnished to him during the trial shall not be allowed for unless such transcript has been directed to be made by the Court, or is subsequently used for the purpose of an appeal.