The Importance of filing a Statement of Costs (N260) with the Court

The case of Kuznetsov, R (On the Application Of) v London Borough of Camden [2019] EWHC 3910 (Admin) has a particular relevance to the title outlined above. Not so much relating to the main aspect of the case itself, but more so the issue of costs of the hearing.

In essence, the Claimant was asking for a review of an order for costs made against them. That application was refused. The judge (Mr Justice Mostyn) then went on to hear the question of the costs of the hearing that was before him, where it was noted that neither party had filed a statement of Costs (Form N260)

In his Judgment on the costs of the hearing, Mr Justice Mostyn stated:

“In relation to the costs of today, the hearing being listed for one hour (possibly shorter but definitely not more than a day), the London Borough of Camden should have been well aware that the Court would endeavour, as is its duty under CPR PD 44 para.9.2(b), to summarily assess, and it cannot summarily assess unless Form N260 is filed 24 hours beforehand.”

Paragraph 9.5 was quoted where it outlined:

“(1) It is the duty of the parties and their legal representatives to assist the judge in making summary assessment of costs in any case for which para.9.2 above applies, in accordance with the following sub-paragraphs.”

Of those sub paragraphs, 9.5(3) and 9.5(4) outline that:

“(3) The statement of costs should follow as closely as possible Form N260 and must be signed by the party or the party’s legal representative.

(4) The statement of costs must be filed at court and copies of it must be served on any party against whom an order for payment of those costs is intended to be sought as soon as possible and, in any event, –

(a) for a fast track trial, not less than 2 days before the trial; and

(b) for all other hearings, not less than 24 hours before the time fixed for the hearing.”

Following the above and possibly more importantly, Paragraph 9.6 states:

“The failure by a party, without reasonable excuse, to comply with paragraph 9.5 will be taken into account by the court in deciding what order to make about the costs of the claim, hearing or application, and about the costs of any further hearing or detailed assessment hearing that may be necessary as a result of that failure.”

These two paragraphs (and subsequent sub paragraphs), proved to be the downfall of both parties in relation to any recoverable costs with Mr Justice Mostyn outlining in his Judgment:

“It is my practice in such circumstances, where the court is charged with a duty to bring closure by summary assessment, and where there is a positive duty to file a Form N260, the legal advisers having failed to do so they, having made that bed, must lie in it and they will not get an award of costs. In relation to today there will be no order as to costs.”

The above case outlines the importance of ensuring that a Statement of Costs (Form N260) is filed with the Court (and all other relevant parties) within the rules set out above, ahead of any hearing that requires adherence to the same. If not, you may well walk away at the conclusion of the hearing, somewhat out of pocket!

For further details as to how PIC can assist with any legal costs issues please contact us for a free and impartial discussion.

Lee Doore  | Senior Costs Consultant | Partners In Costs Ltd