1.       Who is entitled to a Bill of Costs?

 

Every paying party to include your own client is entitled to a Bill of Costs.  A Bill of Costs is an itemised invoice reflecting the works done charged at the appropriate rates in accordance with the difficulty, complexity and time spent and what is allowed under Appendix W of the Rules of the Superior Courts. 

 

Bill of Costs should be prepared in accordance to Statute Order 99, Rule 28 (5) RSC 1986.

  

 

2.       What are a Client's Rights regarding Solicitor and Own Client Costs?

 

Every Client is entitled to a letter setting out how fees will be raised.  Client are further entitled to approve fees before the fees are incurred.  The Client should be advised of what the likely fees will be at the conclusion of the case.  Fees should never be a surprise to a client at the conclusion of a case.

 

As stated above, every client of a solicitor is entitled to a Bill of Costs which sets out the nature and extent of work done on the client's behalf drawn in accordance with Order 99. The fees should be raised in accordance with the section 68 letter advising on costs or the section 150 Notice advising on costs.  

 

If the client is not satisfied with the fees claimed, that client can request a Requisition to  Tax and by signing same, agrees to discharge the fees once measured (known as taxed) by the Taxing Master.  A Summons to Tax is then filed by the client so that the fees can be taxed.All reasonable charges incurred by a solicitor shall be allowed under taxation.  The Solicitor must seek the Client's approval before incurring any costs in writing.  A client can also make complaint to the Law Society of Ireland in the event of overcharging.

    

 

3.       What is the One Sixth Rule? 

 

Where a Solicitor and Own Client Bill of Costs is reduced by the Taxing Master by one  sixth or more, the costs of taxation and the Bill of Costs and on the Certificate of Taxation shall be disallowed unless the Taxing Master shall in his discretion allow the item on special grounds to be stated in the Order.  Stamp Duty is also awarded against the Solicitor.  This can be very expensive if fees have been excessively charged or incurred without written authority.

  

 

4.       What are Party and Party Costs?

 

Party and Party costs are costs belonging to the Client and are a heading of claim just like any other heading of special damage.

 

There are three requirements to recover Party and Party Costs in taxation:

1.       There is a Court Order for costs in favour of the Party;

2.       The costs claimed have been reasonably incurred; and

3.       The Party has a legal liability to discharge the costs.

 

The purpose of Party and Party Costs is to reimburse the party of the reasonable costs incurred in order to obtain justice or to defend/enforce the party's rights.

 

Costs may not be recoverable for if incurred or increased through over caution, negligence, or mistake or by payment of special fees to Counsel or special charges or expenses to witnesses or other person or by any other unusual expense.

 

 

 

5.       How does No Foal No Fee affect Taxation?

 

It has been held that where a client terminates his instructions that the solicitor is entitled to be paid on a Quantum Merit Basis. It has also been held that where a Solicitor breaches the terms of the agreement with the Client by failing to act with all due diligence that the Client would no longer be bound not to withdraw instructions. McHugh v. Keane (unreported) 16 December 1994.

 

 

6.      Can a Solicitor sue for discharge of his costs without a Bill of Costs in accordance with Statute Order 99, Rule 28 (5) RSC 1986?

 

1.      A Solicitor cannot sue a Client for discharge of a Bill until the expiry of a month.

2.     Time limits do not run against a Client if the Bill of Costs is not statute compliant with the exception as set out in Spillane v Dorgan [2016] IECA 84.  

3.     The Bill of Costs must be signed and dated in accordance with the Attorney's and Solicitor's (Ireland) Act, 1849.

4.     The Client has a period of 12 months to demand that the Bill of Costs be taxed.

 

 

7.        How are costs determined in Arbitration Matters?

 

Section 29 of the Arbitration Act, 1954 states:

1.      Unless a contrary intention is expressed therein, every Arbitration agreement shall be deemed to include a provision that the costs of the reference and award shall be in the discretion of the Arbitrator or Umpire who may direct to, and by whom, and in what manner those costs or any part thereof shall be paid, and may with the consent of the parties tax or settle the amount of costs to be so paid or any part thereof and may award costs to be paid as between Solicitor and Client.

2.      Where an award directs any costs to be paid, then, unless the Arbitrator or Umpire with the consent of the parties, taxes or settles the amount thereof.

a.     The costs shall be Taxed and ascertained by a Taxing Master.

b.     The procedure to obtain Taxation and the rules, regulations and scales of costs of the Court relative to Taxation and to the review thereof, shall apply to the cost to be so taxed and ascertained, as if the award were a Judgement or Order of the Court.

In essence, these costs should be taxed the same as if there was an Order of the Court for taxation of Party and Party Cost

 

 

8.      What are the factors that the Taxing Masters will consider when assessing an instructions fee?

 

The primary factor for assessing legal costs is the nature and extent of work done.  A solicitor should maintain detailed attendance notes of the nature and extent of work done and note the time spent.  In assessing the the nature and extent of work done, a Taxing Master takes into account the factors as set out below:

1.    The complexity of the item or of the cause or matter which it arises and the difficulty and novelty of the questions involved.

2.    The skills, specialised knowledge and responsibility required of and the time and labour expended by the Solicitor.

3.     The number and importance of the documents prepared and perused.

4.     The place and circumstance in which the business involved is transacted.

5.     The importance of the cause or matter of the Client.

6.      Where money or property is involved its amount or value.

7.      Any other fee and allowance payable to the Solicitor in respect of other items in the same cause or matter but only where work done in relation to those items has reduced the work which would otherwise have been necessary in the item in question.

 

 

9.       What comprises and Instruction Fee?

 

1.     Taking instructions to sue, defend, counterclaim or appeal or for any pleading, affidavit, preliminary act or a reference under Order 64, Rule 54;

2.      Considering the facts or the law;

3.      Attending on and corresponding with the Client;

4.      Interviewing and Corresponding with the Client;

5.      Arranging to obtain reports or advice from experts and plans, photographs and models;

6.      Making searches in the public records office and elsewhere for relevant documents;

7.      Inspecting any property or place material to the proceeding;

8.      Perusing proceedings, affidavits and other relevant documents such as discovery;

9.      Where the cause or matter does not proceed to trial or hearing, the work done in connection with negotiation of a settlement; and

10. The general care and conduct of the pleadings.