Legal Services Regulation Act 2015

Chapter 4

Adjudication of legal costs

154.

Application for adjudication of legal costs

154. (1) In a case where a person is ordered by a court, tribunal or other body to pay, in whole or in part, the legal costs of another person, the person whose legal costs are to be paid by reason of that order shall furnish a bill of costs to the person who is the subject of the order to pay the legal costs, in a form and manner consistent with—

(a) the terms of the order,

(b) this Act, and

(c) any rules of court relating to the preparation and furnishing of bills of costs in a case to which this subsection refers.

(2) Where a person who is the subject of the order to pay costs receives a bill of costs prepared in accordance with subsection (1), that person may, having attempted to agree the bill of costs with the person referred to in subsection (1), apply to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator for adjudication on any matter or item claimed in the bill of costs.

(3) Where a person in whose favour the order to pay costs has been made issues a bill of costs prepared in accordance with subsection (1), that person, having attempted to resolve any dispute regarding the bill of costs with the person who is the subject of the order, may apply to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator for the bill of costs or any matter or item in the bill of costs to be adjudicated upon.

(4) Where a legal practitioner provides a bill of costs in accordance with section 152 to his or her client and the client considers that any matter or item or the amount charged in respect of any matter or item in the bill of costs is not properly chargeable, taking account of the provisions of this Act, and any rules of court relating to costs payable to legal practitioners by clients, the client may apply to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator for the bill of costs or any matter or item in the bill of costs to be adjudicated upon.

(5) (a) Where a legal practitioner provides a bill of costs in accordance with section 152 to his or her client and the bill of costs or any part thereof remains unpaid on the expiry of a period of 30 days from the date on which the bill of costs was provided, the legal practitioner may apply to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator for the bill of costs or any matter or item in the bill of costs to be adjudicated upon.

(b) Where a barrister has, in accordance with section 152(8) , provided a bill of costs to a solicitor, and the bill of costs or any part thereof remains unpaid on the expiry of a period of 30 days from the date on which the bill of costs was provided, the solicitor concerned may, with the consent of the barrister, apply to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator for the bill of costs or any matter or item in the bill of costs to be adjudicated upon.

(c) An application to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator pursuant to paragraph (a) or (b) may not be made after the expiry of 12 months after the date on which the bill of costs concerned was provided to the client under section 152 .

(6) Where the legal practitioner applies for adjudication pursuant to subsection (5), the legal practitioner shall indicate whether or not he or she is aware of any dispute regarding an item in the bill of costs and if so aware the matter to which the dispute relates.

(7) Subject to subsection (8), an application to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator by a client pursuant to subsection (4) may not be made after the expiry of 6 months after the date on which the bill of costs concerned was provided to the client under section 152 , or 3 months from the date of payment of the bill of costs, whichever first occurs, so long as the bill of costs is in a form and manner consistent with—

(a) this Act, and

(b) any rules of court relating to the preparation and provision of bills of costs by a legal practitioner to a client.

(8) Where a bill of costs has been provided by a legal practitioner to his or her client and the legal practitioner has agreed to accept a lesser amount in discharge of the bill of costs which lesser amount is paid, neither the legal practitioner nor the client may make an application to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator for adjudication of the bill of costs under this section.

(9) A legal practitioner who has provided a bill of costs in accordance with section 152 to his or her client may apply ex parte to the High Court or to a Legal Costs Adjudicator for the abridgement of the period of 30 days referred to in subsection (5) and, where it appears that it is just to do so, the Court or the Legal Costs Adjudicator, as appropriate, may grant an abridgement of that period.

(10) Rules of court may make provision for—

(a) the giving of notice of the application for adjudication to other parties or to such other persons as the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator shall direct, including the manner in which notice is to be given,

(b) the furnishing of documents, records and vouchers to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator or to other parties to the adjudication,

(c) the circumstances and manner in which written submissions are to be provided for the purposes of an adjudication, and

(d) the steps that may constitute an attempt, by a person referred to in subsection (2) or (3), to agree a bill of costs, and the certification by a Legal Costs Adjudicator that the person has made such an attempt.

(11) An application under this section shall be in a form specified by rules of court or, as the case may be, under section 163(1) .