Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) has become the preferred method of resolving disputes outside of the traditional court environment and most agreements, nowadays, provide for disputes to be referred to ADR before approaching a court regarding litigious matters. The BLCM now provides for ADR to be applied to the legal costs aspect of the matter as well.
BLCM provides a neutral platform and physical venue for parties to resolve disputes relating to the taxation of bills of costs.
BLCM provides a forum with competent and experienced Legal Costs Mediators and Assessors to assist parties in resolving their legal costs disputes.
Parties may enter into Legal Costs Mediation or Legal Costs Assessments. The former being a guidance between parties by a Legal Costs Expert/Mediator and the latter being a more formal costs determination by a Legal Costs Expert/Assessor.
An agreement must be entered into between the parties to accept any rulings made by the assessor in a formal assessment of costs.
When entering into mediation the parties need to be open-minded in order to be guided by the mediator to reach an amicable agreement regarding the legal costs.
The allocatur in both the formal assessment and the mediation process, will then be presented to the Taxing Master of the relevant court, who will sign such allocatur as settled between the parties.
There are currently 4 Legal Costs Experts/Mediators/Assessors on the member panel. Each member pays a membership fee to belong to the BLCM and has to comply with a strict Code of Conduct.
The BLCM’s members are bound to the ethics of “good practice” and apply a certain set of case-law pre-determined legal costs practices to all mediation/assessments without allowing same to fetter their discretion.
There will soon be 15 members who can be appointed in all major centres in South Africa with a maximum of 10 working days waiting time.
Some of the advantages of these services include:
- Faster turn-around times in finalising bills of costs.
- Professional and experienced mediators / assessors dealing with your matters.
- Venue of your choice.
- Less expenses in most cases.