Before the costs assessment
If you haven’t been served with a costs statement
If you haven’t been served with a costs statement within a reasonable time, you may serve a notice requiring the other party to serve the costs statement.
Once you serve the notice, the party entitled to costs has 30 days to serve the costs statement. If they don’t, you may seek a directions hearing before the court.
At the hearing, the court may direct the service of the costs statement within a specified time. If the party doesn’t follow this direction, the court may make orders such as setting aside the costs order or allowing costs in a fixed amount (perhaps a nominal amount).
If parties don’t agree
If practicable, the application should nominate a particular costs assessor and state their applicable hourly rate.
However, if parties don’t agree that a matter should go to a particular costs assessor, the parties may apply to the registrar for an appointment of a costs assessor, or to the court for a directions hearing.
For applications filed prior to 6 April 2020, parties can make submissions on who the costs assessor should be and any difficulties or potential problems. The registrar, judge or magistrate will consider any submissions from the parties and make an order appointing a particular costs assessor.
For applications filed on and after 6 April 2020, parties should consider the new approach to appointments where parties cannot agree. This new approach is outlined here.
The Register of Approved Costs Assessors can be found here.
Getting the costs assessor’s consent
You should obtain the costs assessor’s written consent before you nominate them to conduct the assessment.
The consent should be dated, signed and be included in the application if possible. This ensures that the costs assessor is willing and available to perform the assessment. It also enables them to declare any conflicts of interest that might prevent them conducting the assessment.
The suggested wording for the written consent is:
I, [name], consent to be appointed by the court and to act as the costs assessor for [name parties of matter: Party A v Party B].
I am not aware of any conflict of interest or duty that would make it improper for me to act as costs assessor for this matter.