The Senior Courts Costs Office
The Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) is a distinct part of the High Court, separate from the King’s Bench, Chancery and Family divisions. It deals with all aspects of costs from each of those Divisions and from the Court of Appeal. The SCCO is based in the Thomas More Building at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
The principal work of the SCCO is:
• the assessment of costs which are recoverable by one party from another party following a costs order in civil or family proceedings in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the County Court in London;
• the determination of proceedings between solicitors and their former clients where the former client is challenging the solicitor’s charges;
• appeals from the assessment of costs in criminal proceedings in the Crown Court and Court of Appeal (Criminal Division);
• the assessment of costs incurred by deputies appointed by the Court of Protection in respect of general management and other applications where the relevant authority has been obtained from that court;
• making orders that one party pays the costs of another party where the claim has been settled before proceedings have been issued.
Most Court of Protection bills and the smaller between the parties bills are assessed by Costs Officers (senior civil servants from whose decisions appeals lie to a Costs Judge). The larger between the parties assessments, all criminal costs appeals and all proceedings between solicitors and their former clients are heard by the Costs Judges.
The Senior Courts Costs Office Guide sets out in much greater detail the work done in the SCCO as well as the procedure.