In circumstances where Parties agree on the identity of the Costs Assessor to be appointed to conduct the Costs Assessment of an Itemised Account (for Applications under the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld)(LPA)) or a Costs Statement (for Assessments of Costs other than under the LPA) the parties can file a Consent Order under Rule 666 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) (UCPR) by virtue Rule 712 UCPR and Rule 743E UCPR respectively.
If, however, the parties are unable to agree on the identity of the Costs Assessor then a party may apply to the Registrar for the appointment of a Costs Assessor by virtue of Rule 713 UCPR (for Assessments of Costs under the LPA) and Rule 743F UCPR (for Assessment of Costs other than under the LPA).
The Supreme Court Registry has recently updated the process for Applications for Appointment of a Costs Assessor pursuant to Rules 713 and 743F UCPR. The new process applies to all Applications received on or after 30 March 2020 and the process can be summarised as follows:
Application is made to the Registrar:
- confirming that the parties cannot reach agreement on the Costs Assessor to be appointed; and
- informing the Registrar as to which area(s) of expertise on the Register a Costs Assessor should be appointed;
The Registrar will select the Costs Assessor next on the List of relevant area(s) of expertise. The Areas of Speciality (Expertise) listed on the Register are:
Administration Law (excluding Appeals); Building and Construction; Common Law - General and including Defamation; Family Law; Guardianship; Intellectual Property; Motor Vehicle Accident; Probate; Tax; Appeals (all types); Corporations Law; Contract Law; Criminal; Industrial; Planning and Environment; Personal Injury; Professional Negligence; Tribunals; and Commercial - including Banking, Commercial Arbitration and Insurance;
Each Costs Assessor listed on the Register has nominated their area(s) of expertise, with a substantial number of the 50 Costs Assessors currently listed on the Register nominating “All” areas of expertise;
The Registrar will contact the selected Costs Assessor via email and offer the selected Costs Assessor the appointment in the matter. This Costs Assessor will be selected and appointed to undertake the Costs Assessment, subject to the confirming with Two (2) business days that:
- There is no conflict of interest in their appointment;
- They have the capacity to undertake that work in a timely manner;
- Their willingness to undertake the Assessment at the lower of their published hourly rate or the rate prescribed to any Practice Direction (which is presently $317.80 (incl GST) pursuant to Supreme Court Practice Direction 8 of 2020 issued on 1 April 2020, and effective for all Applications pursuant to Rule 713 and 743F(3) filed from 6 April 2020 onwards) ; and
- The work to be performed and the appointment is within the Costs Assessor’s capacity, skill, and experience;
If the selected Costs Assessor does not provide confirmation within Two (2) business days of the matters set out above, the next listed Costs Assessor within the area(s) of expertise will be approached by the Registrar and so on until a suitable selection can be made;
The Parties will be advised of the proposed Order of Appointment of Costs Assessor and will be allowed Seven (7) days to object to the Order of Appointment being made on a substantive ground;
If no objection to Appointment is received within Seven (7) days and subsequently allowed, the Order of Appointment of the selected Costs Assessor will issue from the Registry and provided to the parties and the Costs Assessor;
If an Objection is received by the Registrar for the proposed selected Costs Assessor, the Registrar will consider the reasons for the Objection and will either Order the Appointment or approach the next listed Costs Assessor under the area(s) of expertise and repeat the process until a suitable appointment can be Ordered;
Upon the Costs Assessor being successfully appointed and receiving the material/documents from the parties, the Costs Assessor is to advise the Registrar of when it is expected that a Certificate will be filed.
The parties are not provided with the information about which Costs Assessor is next on the List maintained by the Registrar in each area of expertise and this information will not be published to the parties. It is only the Registrar who is privy to this information.
The uncertainty as to which Costs Assessor may be appointed is likely to give rise to an incentive for parties to reach agreement about the identity of the Costs Assessor to be appointed rather than leaving it to chance through the Application process.
Director/Principal Costs Lawyer
Supreme Court (QLD) Appointed Costs Assessor