The latest edition of the Senior Court Costs Office Guide is now available here. 

As ever the Guide contains a detailed and comprehensive guide to all the procedural (and some substantive) issues


“The Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) is a distinct part of the High Court, separate from the King’s Bench Division, Chancery Division and Family Division. It deals with all aspects of costs from each Division and from the Court of Appeal. It has two ranks of judicial officer: Costs Judges and Authorised Court Officers known as Costs Officers (senior civil servants from whose decisions appeals lie as of right to a Costs Judge).
The primary function of the SCCO is the assessment of costs which are recoverable from one litigant by another litigant or by a lawyer. In the past, assessments (then called “taxations”) were conducted by specialist Judges appointed to each court. In 1842 the office of Taxing Master was created, and Taxing Masters were appointed to each Division of the High Court. The Supreme Court Taxing Office (SCTO) was founded in 1902 and originally was one of the Departments which made up the Central Office. In 1999 the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”) adopted the term “detailed assessment” in place of “taxation” at which time
the SCTO became the SCCO. It now has jurisdiction to assess costs awarded by any Judge of the Court of Appeal, High Court or County Court. Since 2000 it has had the jurisdiction to assess orders for costs made in the Family Division of the High Court and in the Principal Registry.
Regional Costs Judges have been appointed on all circuits outside London. They are District Judges who have been appointed to hear detailed assessment of bills of costs that fall within the criteria of the scheme at a venue which is convenient to the parties and their legal representatives.
The criteria for a detailed assessment to be referred to a Regional Costs Judge, rather than the local District Judge, are as follows: the time estimate for the detailed assessment exceeds one day; and/or the sum claimed exceeds £100,000; and/or complex arguments on points of law, or an issue affecting a group of similar cases, are identified in the points of dispute or the reply or are referred to in argument at a detailed assessment hearing.”