Leading costs set 4 New Square has launched a virtual costs ADR service, providing neutral evaluations, binding expert determinations and/or assessments on a fixed-fee basis.
The set – which counts leading costs QCs Nick Bacon, Ben Williams, Robert Marven and Roger Mallalieu among its members – is offering the service either on the papers or via telephone or video, with a five-day turnaround.
One advantage is that it can offer a provisional assessment-style process for bills of a value greater than the current court limit of £75,000.
All fees are fixed and payable in advance. For provisional assessments on the papers, 4 New Square is charging £750 for bills of less than £50,000, £1,000 for bills of less than £100,000, and 2% of the value for larger bills.
The parties can agree whether or not provisional assessment would be subject to a review process, with a fixed fee of £500 for a telephone or video hearing of up to one hour, or of £1,000 per half day for more substantial reviews.
Neutral evaluations and expert determinations will be price on the issues and volume of paperwork supplied.
The costs of the process will usually be costs in the ‘assessment’, subject to any contrary agreement.
Six members of chambers are also on the panel of Costs ADR, which offers the same services, but Mr Bacon – who is one of them – stressed that 4 New Square continued to support it.
He explained that CADR was just one platform from which members offered their professional services, and they continued to be part of the CADR panel.
He said: “What we are doing is bringing together services that 4 New Square has always offered to its clients, but with greatly enhanced use of technology for distance working, together with transparent fixed fees, so as to enhance the services during unprecedented times, when it is widely expected that the demand for ADR will increase.”
Tanya Sharp, the registrar at CADR, said its services “have always complemented those which 4 New Square offer”.
She added: “CADR has also been the appointed supplier of mediation services in claims for legal costs which involve NHS Resolution. With the emphasis on distance working which the Covid-19 crisis has engendered, both CADR and 4 New Square are encouraging greater use of all forms of ADR to resolve costs disputes, in particular through technology such as Skype and Zoom.”