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Solicitors Act 1974

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70[F1Assessment] on application of party chargeable or solicitor.E+W

(1)Where before the expiration of one month from the delivery of a solicitor’s bill an application is made by the party chargeable with the bill, the High Court shall, without requiring any sum to be paid into court, order that the bill be [F2assessed] and that no action be commenced on the bill until the [F3assessment] is completed.

(2)Where no such application is made before the expiration of the period mentioned in subsection (1), then, on an application being made by the solicitor or, subject to subsections (3) and (4), by the party chargeable with the bill, the court may on such terms, if any, as it thinks fit (not being terms as to the costs of the [F4assessment]), order—

(a)that the bill be [F5assessed]; and

(b)that no action be commenced on the bill, and that any action already commenced be stayed, until the [F4assessment] is completed.

(3)Where an application under subsection (2) is made by the party chargeable with the bill—

(a)after the expiration of 12 months from the delivery of the bill, or

(b)after a judgment has been obtained for the recovery of the costs covered by the bill, or

(c)after the bill has been paid, but before the expiration of 12 months from the payment of the bill.

no order shall be made except in special circumstances and, if an order is made, it may contain such terms as regards the costs of the [F6assessment] as the court may think fit.

(4)The power to order [F6assessment] conferred by subsection (2) shall not be exercisable on an application made by the party chargeable with the bill after the expiration of 12 months from the payment of the bill.

(5)An order for the [F6assessment] of a bill made on an application under this section by the party chargeable with the bill shall, if he so requests, be an order for the [F6assessment] of the profit costs covered by the bill.

(6)Subject to subsection (5), the court may under this section order the [F7assessment] of all the costs, or of the profit costs, or of the costs other than profit costs and, where part of the costs is not to be [F8assessed], may allow an action to be commenced or to be continued for that part of the costs.

(7)Every order for the [F9assessment] of a bill shall require the [F10costs officer] to [F11assess] not only the bill but also the costs of the [F9assessment] and to certify what is due to or by the solicitor in respect of the bill and in respect of the costs of the taxation .

(8)If after due notice of any [F12assessment] either party to it fails to attend, the officer may proceed with the [F12assessment] ex parte.

(9)Unless—

(a)the order [F13for assessment] was made on the application of the solicitor and the party chargeable does not attend [F14the assessment] , or

(b)the order [F13for assessment] or an order under subsection (10) otherwise provides,

the costs of [F15an assessment] shall be paid according to the event of [F14the assessment] , that is to say, if [F16the amount of the bill is reduced by one fifth], the solicitor shall pay the costs, but otherwise the party chargeable shall pay the costs.

(10)The [F17costs officer] may certify to the court any special circumstances relating to a bill or to the [F18assessment] of a bill, and the court may make such order as respects the costs of the [F18assessment] as it may think fit.

(11)F19. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(12)In this section “profit costs” means costs other than counsel’s fees or costs paid or payable in the discharge of a liability incurred by the solicitor on behalf of the party chargeable, and the reference in subsection (9) to the fraction of the amount [F20of the reduction in the bill] shall be taken, where the [F21assessment] concerns only part of the costs covered by the bill, as a reference to that fraction of the amount of those costs which is being [F22assessed].

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Amendments (Textual)

F1S. 70: word in section heading substituted (1.1.2010) by Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29), ss. 177, 211, Sch. 16 para. 65(a) (with ss. 29, 192, 193); S.I. 2009/3250, art. 2(f)(ii) (with art. 9)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

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