Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021

Part 15: Assessment of Costs Matters and Costs

130. Scope of certain paragraphs

To avoid doubt, the directions contained in this Part, save for paragraph 135, do not apply to assessments governed by the Bankruptcy (Costs) Rules or the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution (Personal Insolvency) Rules 2020.

131. Form of bill of costs

The attention of solicitors is drawn to Order 21, Rules 2(2) and 20 of the Rules of Court 2021. In addition, solicitors are to abide by the following requirements:

Margin

(1) A blank margin not less than 10mm wide on all four sides is required for each page of the bill of costs.

Pagination

(2) Every page of a bill of costs must be paginated consecutively at the centre top of the page.

Format

(3) This sub-paragraph sets out the format of a bill of costs.

Particulars

(4) Sufficient particulars must be included in the bill of costs so as to enable the Registrar to exercise his or her discretion under Order 21, Rule 2(2) of the Rules of Court 2021. Without limiting sub-paragraph (3), the Registrar may, at the assessment hearing, order the claiming or receiving party to furnish full details in support of the sums claimed under the bill.

Goods and services tax

(5) A party claiming goods and services tax (GST) in a bill of costs must comply with the directions set out in this sub-paragraph. A party who fails to comply with the directions set out in this sub-paragraph will be presumed not to be claiming GST in the bill concerned.

132. Electronic filing of bills of costs for assessment

(1) Each bill of costs submitted to the Court through the Electronic Filing Service must:

(2) As the Registrar’s certificate of costs under Order 21, Rule 25 of the Rules of Court 2021 will be composed online based on the summary in sub-paragraph (1)(c), solicitors should ensure that the information contained in the summary accurately reflects the information contained in the bill of costs submitted. Solicitors should also ensure that the amounts claimed for goods and services tax in the summary are correct.

(3) There is no necessity for lawyers to collect the assessed bill of costs from the Registry to prepare the Registrar’s certificate. The procedure for preparation of draft orders in paragraph 107 of these Practice Directions will, with the necessary modifications, apply to the preparation of the Registrar’s certificate.

(4) The Registrar’s certificate must be composed online through the Electronic Filing Service.

133. Objections

(1) Any objections in principle or as to quantum of the items claimed in a bill of costs must be indicated by the filing and service of a Notice of Dispute in Form B33 of Appendix B of these Practice Directions at least 14 days before the date fixed by the Registrar for the assessment of the bill of costs.

(2) The Notice of Dispute must be filed through the Electronic Filing Service in Portable Document Format (PDF) and be accompanied by a Notice of Dispute summary, the electronic form of which will be composed online through the Electronic Filing Service. The information required by the Electronic Filing Service to compose the Notice of Dispute summary includes the amounts of costs to be awarded under Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the bill of costs according to the paying party.

134. Amount allowed as disbursements on account of use of Electronic Filing Service

(1) If a document is filed using the Electronic Filing Service, $0.40 for each page of the document filed must be allowed as costs between parties to proceedings. Such costs may be claimed by a receiving party from the paying party where the receiving party is entitled to costs for the filing of the document. These costs must be allowed in addition to all other disbursements and Court fees.

(2) This paragraph applies to the assessment of costs as well as cases where the Court fixes a gross sum instead of directing an assessment.

(3) This paragraph does not apply to any document filed through the service bureau.

(1) The directions contained in this paragraph must be followed in respect of all assessments in which the Official Assignee, the Official Receiver, the Public Trustee or the Director of Legal Aid is involved.

(2) For all assessments in which the Official Assignee, the Official Receiver, the Public Trustee or the Director of Legal Aid is involved:

(3) If the Official Assignee, the Official Receiver, the Public Trustee or the Director of Legal Aid, as the case may be, agrees with the amounts claimed in the bill of costs, then:

(4) If costs are required to be assessed pursuant to the provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act and the bill of costs claiming the same is referenced to an earlier party-and-party bill filed pursuant to paragraph 131(3)(d), the Public Trustee need not attend the assessment of the bill and the party-and-party and solicitor-and-client costs will be assessed in the absence of the Public Trustee. However, the Public Trustee may attend at the assessment if he or she so wishes, and must attend if an express direction is made by the Registrar that he or she attends in relation to a particular bill of costs.

136. Fixing costs instead of ordering assessment

(1) Order 21, Rule 2(3) of the Rules of Court 2021 provides that:

Counsel should therefore be prepared to make submissions on the entitlement to and quantum of costs at the end of a hearing or trial, whether before or after judgment is delivered.

(2) Counsel should note that the Court may fix costs where costs have been ordered to be in the cause, or on hearing applications for dismissal or striking out pursuant to an unless order, and be prepared to make submissions accordingly.

137. Costs Scheduling

(1) The directions contained in this paragraph apply to:

(2) Each party to the proceedings described in sub-paragraph (1) is required to file a costs schedule using Form B34 in Appendix B of these Practice Directions. The costs schedule should set out with sufficient particularity the quantum of party-and-party costs and disbursements that the party intends to claim in the event that the party succeeds. A specimen form illustrating the use of Form B34 in Appendix B of these Practice Directions can be found in Appendix F of these Practice Directions.

(3) The relevant costs schedule will be taken into account for the purposes of assessing the quantum of costs to be awarded for the proceedings.

(4) The costs schedule for the proceedings described in sub-paragraph (2) must be filed together with the parties’ written closing submissions or, where there are no written closing submissions, before the parties’ oral closing submissions are presented.

138. Costs Guidelines

(1) Solicitors making submissions on party-and-party costs (whether at assessment hearings or otherwise) or preparing their costs schedules pursuant to paragraph 137 of these Practice Directions should have regard to the costs guidelines set out in Appendix G of these Practice Directions (the “Costs Guidelines”).

(2) The Costs Guidelines are to serve only as a general guide for party-and-party costs awards in the Supreme Court. The precise amount of costs awarded remains at the discretion of the Court and the Court may depart from the amounts set out in the Costs Guidelines depending on the circumstances of each case.

(3) To avoid doubt, nothing in the Costs Guidelines is intended to guide or influence the charging of solicitor-and-client costs.

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