Home / Services / Early neutral evaluation

Early neutral evaluation

Our panel of experts can offer an early evaluation of an issue or the entirety of the costs claimed. Such an evaluation is best provided early in the costs proceedings before the parties become entrenched in the costs dispute.

Often there are one or two substantial issues which prevent a settlement being achieved, and we aim to help you resolve those. Our evaluation is without prejudice and has no binding effect.

As an example, there may be a dispute as to whether there was a good reason to depart from an approved budget. We would typically ask for the original budgets, notes from the CCMC and one-page submissions from the parties. In some cases, we may ask for more specific documents. We would then provide a succinct report of our conclusions based on the evidence and current law.

Common issues which we can help resolve are hourly rates, proportionality, good reason to depart from an approved or agreed costs budget, enforceability of CFA, “success” and success fees, incidental/specific costs, late acceptance of a Part 36 offer, entitlement to costs, fixed v standard basis costs, basis of assessment, QOCS and contractual liability for costs.

There may be cases where costs are an obstacle in settling the underlying claim. In such circumstances we can assist in providing an opinion on the likely costs order that may be made.

As a further example, there is an issue in respect of proportionality in a claim where costs are £150,000 and the claim settled for £50,000. We would typically require the key pre-action correspondence, pleadings, costs budgets and expert evidence. Each party would provide their 1-page position statement. We would then formulate our view on that basis. A typical fee for this might be £1,000 plus VAT.

To opine on routine issue based on limited documents, the fees typically range from £500 - £750 plus VAT. For more complex legal issue involving a detailed analysis of documents, the fees typically range from £750 - £1000 plus VAT

All fees will be confirmed on receipt of instructions and will be dependent on the volume of papers and the complexity of the issue.