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Receiving parties usually ask for an interim payment on account of costs, especially
when Detailed Assessment proceedings have been commenced
A receiving party can make an application for an interim payment (the issue of an
interim costs certificate) after lodging the N258 Request for Detailed Assessment
hearing. The Rules dealing with such applications are contained within CPR Part 47.15
CPR Part 44.3 (8) (but also see the associated Costs Practice Directions) states
that wherever costs are to be assessed by Detailed Assessment the court should consider
whether to exercise its discretion under this part. It follows that the courts are
meant to consider whether an interim payment should be order every time a costs order
is made, either at a Trial or even when an order is being entered by Consent. An
order for an interim payment in these circumstances would usually be for a forthwith
payment, most commonly within 14 days.
The Court does not need to see a formal bill before making any orders for an interim
costs payment. However, something like an Estimate or an N260 could be helpful as
a rough guide of what the overall costs could amount to. For this reason it is a
good idea for a receiving party to be in a position to present details of costs to
date at a Trial where summary assessment is unlikely to be carried out, such as at
a Multi-Track trial listed for more than one day.
Mars UK Limited -v- Teknowledge Limited is case which looks at the merits of making
of order for interim costs. An additional point in this case was once it had been
decided to make an order for payment of interim costs, how much should be ordered
to be paid. This case suggests that the amount awarded as an interim payment should
be two thirds of what the Judge thinks will be awarded between the parties on a subsequent
Detailed Assessment. Perhaps a word of warning to paying parties.