Beyond the electronic bill

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At the end of July this year, a few current and former colleagues from the Hutton Committee met up to mull over events since we first made proposals to move civil costs assessment into an electronic format – starting with the bill itself. The mood among us was optimistic about the rate of adoption and the growing engagement. It is also timely that the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) has published a Practice Note on electronic filing of documents, which will be mandatory from 20 January 2020.

There was a wide feeling that work shouldn’t stop; that the costs assessment procedure should be developed and improved to help harness the advantages that electronic presentation provides – filling in the gaps between the bill and the assessment itself.

It’s fair to say that there was rather less enthusiasm from those assembled about more committee work. One bright suggestion as an alternative was to gather views on what should happen next and present those views for wider discussion.

Our white paper is the result and is based on a series of interviews with members of the costs judiciary, specialist counsel and experienced practitioners, conducted on our behalf by independent journalist Joanne Harris. It is our aim to stimulate debate throughout the civil litigation world, but especially among costs experts so that the best solutions emerge as quickly as possible.

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