Taxation of Judicial Accounts

If a litigant is awarded ‘expenses’ against another litigant in a Court case (called ‘costs’ in England), the successful litigant’s solicitor makes up a Judicial Account of Expenses, itemizing the work done, and tries to agree it with the paying litigant’s solicitor. If they cannot agree, the Court remits the Account to an Auditor, who listens to both parties at an oral hearing (‘a diet of taxation’) and advises the Court on how much should be paid. For ease of reference, the following talk assumes that the Pursuer has been awarded expenses against the Defender.

The Society of Sheriff Court Auditors has, for many years, guided its members on how to ‘tax’ Accounts and, if asked by a litigant’s solicitor, has offered advice on the preparation and taxation of Accounts. Proposals by the Scottish Government, well advanced at the date of this note (March 2016), altering the way in which Auditors function, will end my own involvement. Some of those to whom I have given talks, over recent years, have asked me to make publicly available the material I used for these talks.

A typical talk covered fifteen areas, and was directed equally to those who prepared

Accounts and to those who opposed them:

  1. Scrutinize the Interlocutors
  2. Update your Table of Fees
  3. Preparing an Account
  4. Check the Vat
  5. Lodging an Account
  6. Intimating a diet
  7. Cancelling a diet
  8. Preparing for a diet
  9. Attending a diet
  10. After a diet
  11. Taxation without a diet
  12. Party Litigants
  13. ‘Skilled persons’
  14. Notes of Objections
  15. ‘Powder and shot’


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