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Costs Officers

Costs Officers

When the Supreme Court or JCPC makes an order that one side must pay the other side's legal costs (i.e. the costs of barristers, solicitors and other "reasonable" costs) there is an assessment procedure in place if the amount of those costs cannot be agreed by the parties.

The Costs Officers are usually Costs Judges of the Senior Courts Costs Office of England and Wales, where they deal with costs in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Court of Protection. They are appointed by the President to sit at costs hearings (formally known as "detailed assessments") for the Supreme Court or JCPC to determine what the reasonable costs payable should be. A large number of assessments are also carried out on the papers where the costs claimed are less than £75,000.00.

The Costs Officers' decisions cannot be appealed, other than on a point of principle, in which case it is referred to a single Justice. The single Justice will decide whether the matter should be referred to a panel of Justices and, before s/he makes a decision, s/he may consult the other Justices who heard the appeal or application.

Detailed assessments are public hearings, though as they are subject to frequent change at a late stage, we do not publish details on this website. If you wish to attend a detailed assessment please check with the Registry's costs staff on (+44) 020 7960 1990 or email.

The panel of Supreme Court Costs Officers is:

  • Senior Costs Judge (Chief Taxing Master) Gordon-Saker
  • Costs Judge Leonard
  • Costs Judge James
  • Ian Sewell (Costs Officer)

You can read more details about costs in Practice Direction 13.