Payment on Account of Costs Pending Taxation
“In view of long delays in the taxation of costs, the attention of practitioners is drawn to the provisions of Order 99, rule 1B (5).
I direct that in all cases where there is no dispute as to the liability for the payment of costs and in any other case which a judge thinks appropriate, an order may be made directing payment of a reasonable sum on account of costs within such period as may be specified by the judge pending the taxation of such costs. Such orders may be made on an undertaking being given by the solicitor for the successful party that, in the event of taxation realising a smaller sum than that directed to be paid on account, such overpayment will be repaid”.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly has issued the above Practice Direction which came in to effect on 24th April 2017.
Essentially, where there is no dispute as to liability for the payment of costs and where the Court considers it appropriate, an Order may be made for the payment of a reasonable sum on account within a specified period, pending the Taxation of Costs.
The party making such an Application must also provide an undertaking to the Court to return whatever sum may be deemed an overpayment following the Taxation or settlement of those costs.
The question of a reasonable sum would have to be addressed which may require input from Legal Costs Accountants in terms of estimated quantum. However, the possibility of prejudice in respect of a subsequent Taxation will have to be dealt with during any application.
Furthermore, whilst the Practice Direction does provide for an undertaking in respect of any overpayment, the practicalities of retrieving such an overpayment would have to be greatly considered by all practitioners.
This Practice Direction was conceived as a result delays being experienced in the Taxing Masters Office, due to a number of factors. However, it is noted that a second Taxing Master has now been appointed to the Office and early dates are being allocated to cases, which is most welcome.