By Lee Carter, Director and Costs Draftsman 
In accordance with English Law, a Costs Lawyer is a qualified and regulated legal professional specialising in the law and the varied practice of legal costs. 
In reality, Costs Lawyers provide Solicitors with advice about client retainers, cost estimates and case budgeting so that any appropriate legal costs incurred can be justifiably charged. 
A Cost Lawyer is NOT a solicitor because they do not handle or get involved in the legal argument. They focus solely on the Costs which can be claimed as a result of the legal work which needs to take place in a case. 
What does a Costs Lawyer do? 
The services of a Costs Lawyer are mainly sought by firms of solicitors, but they can also be instructed by businesses or members of the public. 
Regulated by the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB), qualified Costs Lawyers are the only people in the legal profession with comprehensive knowledge of legal costs and the financial implications of decisions handed out by judges. These judgements mean the rules and procedures which determine what Costs can be claimed are constantly changing. 
The procedures and facts applicable to each case are usually different. It is a Costs Lawyer’s responsibility to stay abreast of the latest developments. This allows them to build their legal knowledge and understand any implications judgements may have with regards to Costs. Consequently, the work carried out is often varied. 
Costs Lawyers tend to be involved in cases from the start, managing cases or claims right through to the final settlement stage. They are also involved at the conclusion of proceedings to deal with detailed costs assessments. 
Costs Lawyers MUST have professional indemnity insurance in order to practice and ensure legal costs claims are protected. 
Why would you need a Costs Lawyer? 
If a solicitor wants to maximise the amount they can recover in legal costs, it’s wise to tap in to skills and knowledge of an experienced Costs Lawyer
As a specialist in this area, they will have more insight into the legal costs which can be claimed. If you’re the paying party, a Costs Lawyer may be able to negotiate the Bills of Costs to reduce your liability and expenditure. 
In most law firms, Solicitors and Fee Earners undertake significant amounts of case work. Using a Costs Lawyer, or outsourcing this work to a firm of professional Costs Draftsman, can ease the pressure because the complex legal costs will be taken care of independently. 
Usually, this allows any Costs work or potential disputes to be settled faster, freeing up Fee Earners to focus on case work. 
How can you become a Costs Lawyer? 
Anyone who wants to become a fully-qualified Costs Lawyer will need to successfully navigate their way through a three-year training course. 
The qualification, which is administered by the Association of Costs Lawyers, is the equivalent to degree level and requires three years of supervised costs practice to be undertaken simultaneously. 
Once qualified, there is an ongoing requirement for Costs Lawyers to be familiar with any Costs Updates and changes to Costs Law, which can be done through ongoing training and Continued Professional Development (CPD). 
At Carter Burnett, we are continually growing and operate a trainee initiative which helps us to nurture our own team. To find out more, email for details. 
Why should law firms work with Carter Burnett? 
By working in partnership with us, solicitors can ensure their hard work is fully appreciated. 
We work with the UK’s leading claimant law firms and clinical negligence solicitors to robustly and successfully challenge disputes to costs claims. 
We’re proud of our costs knowledge and can quickly turnaround costs budgets, so that the diligence of Fee Earners is never undervalued. 
To minimise the financial risks for solicitors who take on complex Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury Cases, we also provide our Budgeting Costs services on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. 
Our specialist areas include: 
Preparation of Costs Budgets 
Attend Costs Case Management Conference 
Revise Costs Budgets - when major litigation changes occur 
Prepare the detailed Bill of Costs upon conclusion 
Negotiate over costs 
Prepare the Points of Reply 
Attend at a Detailed Assessment Hearing 
Consultancy for Barristers assisting with fee challenges 
Mediation for Costs or commercial disputes 
Advise on Costs disputes between solicitors and their clients 
Advise on and prepare Costs claims from public funds (Legal Aid) 
If your law firm would like to save time and minimise the stress of complex costs negotiations, get in touch – we’ll happily handle everything on your behalf. 
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