bill of costs

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An account of costs prepared by a solicitor in respect of legal services he has rendered his client. In general a solicitor may be required to furnish his client with a bill unless they have made an agreement in writing to the contrary. If no such agreement has been made the solicitor may not, without the permission of the High Court, sue for recovery of costs until one month after the bill of costs has been delivered. Any client dissatisfied with a bill can require his solicitor to obtain a remuneration certificate from the Law Society. The certificate will either say that the fee is fair and reasonable or it will substitute a lower fee. If the bill is endorsed with a notice saying that there is a right to ask for a remuneration certificate within one month, the client has one month from receipt of the bill to request the certificate. If the bill is not endorsed in this way, the client has a right to demand a remuneration certificate that lasts for one month from the time he was notified of this right. If the client requests a remuneration certificate, he must normally first pay half the bill and all the VAT on the bill and expenses and disbursements set out on the bill before the remuneration certificate is obtained, unless he has obtained permission from the Law Society to waive this requirement; this permission is given in exceptional circumstances. These rights are set out fully in the Solicitors (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 1994. In contentious (i.e. litigious) matters the bill is subject to assessment of costs. See also costs draftsman.

Subjects: Law.

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