Getting the costs assessment
The costs assessment
The costs assessor will decide the procedure for the assessment. They may consider:
- the solicitor’s or counsel’s fees
- the nature and importance of the case
- amount involved
- principles of the case
- interests of the parties
- the fund, estate or other assets of the person paying the costs
- general conduct and cost of the case
- any other relevant circumstances.
The costs assessor will also decide the costs of the costs assessment and which party will be liable to pay them.
They will issue a certificate for the amount of the assessed costs (including the costs of the assessment) and file it within 14 days after the assessment. Each party will receive a copy of the certificate.
The registrar will refer to the certificate and make an appropriate order, which is not enforceable until at least 14 days after the date the order is made.
If you don’t agree with the assessment
If you don’t agree with the costs assessment, you can request the written reasons for the decision within 21 days of receiving the assessor’s certificate.
The assessor must provide the written reasons within 21 days.
You will need to pay the assessor’s reasonable costs of preparing the reasons. These costs will form part of your costs in any subsequent review.
You can also file an application for the court to review the costs assessor’s decision within 14 days of receiving either the written reasons or the certificate (if you didn’t apply for reasons).
You should give notice of this application to the other parties who participated in the assessment.
If the party liable for costs doesn’t file a notice of objection to the costs statement within 21 days of receiving the statement, the other party can apply to the registrar to appoint a costs assessor to conduct a default assessment.
This application doesn’t need to be served on the party liable for costs.
On proof that the costs statement was served on the liable party, the costs assessor will:
- assess the costs without necessarily considering each item
- allow the costs claimed in the costs statement unless there are obvious errors
- issue a certificate for the amount of the assessed costs.
The costs assessor does not have to consider the usual range of issues, such as the solicitor’s or counsel’s fees, the nature and importance of the case, etc.
The party liable for costs may apply to the court to set aside or vary a default assessment.
The application must include:
- an affidavit explaining why the notice of objection wasn’t filed
- an explanation for any delay
- Form 61 – Notice of objection (DOC, 38KB).
If parties agree on costs
The party liable to pay costs may serve a written offer to settle the costs on the other party any time before the costs assessor starts the assessment.
If the other party accepts the offer, this must be in writing.
If a settlement is reached before a costs assessor is appointed, the parties may apply to the registrar for a consent order for the amount of the agreement by filing Form 59A – Request for consent order of registrar (DOC, 36KB) and two copies of Form 59 – Order (DOC, 28KB).
If a settlement is reached after a costs assessor has been appointed, the assessor will issue a certificate in the amount of the accepted offer. This certificate will be filed with the registry and the registrar can make an order for this amount.