Clinical negligence solicitors are missing out on payments on account when the courts make costs orders, even though they are entitled to them in the vast majority of cases.
The warning has come from Just Costs Solicitors after research carried out by the firm found that the courts are automatically making an order for a payment on account in just 15% of cases where solicitors obtain an order for costs.
According to Just Costs in 80% cases where the courts have not made an order for payment on account of costs, it is because solicitors have not asked for one. In only 5% of cases are the courts finding there is a good reason not to do so.
“The Civil Procedure Rules state that where the court orders a party to pay costs subject to detailed assessment, it will order that party to pay a reasonable sum on account of costs, unless there is good reason not to do so,” said Nick McDonnell, senior associate and northern regional manager at Just Costs.
“This research shows that claimant firms are missing out on the opportunity to significantly improve their cash flow by failing to secure payments on account.”
Just Costs also discovered that when an application is made for an interim payment, costs are being recovered in 89% of cases.
“Essentially applications should not be needed if advocates simply drew the court’s attention to rule 44.2(8),” said McDonnell.
“If the matter settles by consent, a term for payment on account should be included in the order.
“Applications are needed when the costs agreement is by way of Part 36 – and if the application is made, the research shows that in the vast majority of cases they are successful in recovering the costs of their application in addition.”
Just Costs Solicitors spoke to 1178 medical negligence partners at law firms throughout the UK.