Replies to Points of Dispute
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Despite being optional, Replies to Points of Dispute can be extremely useful in narrowing the issues in costs proceedings and often play a significant role in facilitating settlement without recourse to an assessment hearing.
For cases where the costs claimed do not exceed £75,000, the matter will usually be subject to Provisional Assessment and there will be no opportunity to make oral submissions to the Court. The only opportunity for Receiving Parties to put forward submissions on the disputes raised by a Paying Party is within the Replies to Points of Dispute. It is therefore strongly advised that Replies are prepared and served on the Paying Party in advance of any proposed assessment hearing in order to provide justification for the costs being sought in the Bill.
The Civil Procedure Rules provide that Replies served by the Receiving Party under Rule 47.13 must be limited to points of principle and concessions only. They must not contain general denials, specific denials or standard form responses.
It is important for you to be able to rely on an experienced legal costs practitioner to prepare compliant Replies that will maximise your chances of recovery in the event that the matter proceeds to an assessment hearing. Non-compliant Replies are open to criticism from the judiciary and often lead to adverse consequences when it comes to costs recovery.