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Costs Lawyers

What is a Costs lawyer?

A Costs lawyer is a specialist lawyer who deals with all areas of costs in legal work.  They can be appointed by courts, solicitors, members of the public and businesses to undertake specific work including:

  • drafting Bills and Schedules of Costs;
  • drafting Points of Dispute and Replies to claims for costs;
  • assisting in the preparation of costs budgets and advise on costs budgets presented by an opposing party;
  • advising on retainers and fee arrangements between clients and their legal advisors;
  • advising on and prepare claims for costs from public funds (Legal Aid);
  • advising on disputes between solicitors and their clients;
  • acting as costs mediators or arbitrators in costs disputes;

Costs lawyers are regulated by the Costs Lawyers Standards Board (CLSB) and, as regulated legal professionals, are authorised to undertake specific reserved legal activities:

  • The conduct of litigation
  • The administration of oaths
  • The exercise of a right of audience, which means that you could appear in court on behalf of your clients on matters relating to costs.

As a costs lawyer you would have a career in law, with a focus on financial analysis.  You would have to adhere to a code of conduct, undertake continuing professional development and carry professional indemnity insurance.  

Qualifying as a Costs Lawyer

What do I need to get started?

Eligibility requirements

You don’t have to be a qualified lawyer, or to have previously studied law, to qualify as a costs lawyer. The entry requirements are as follows:

1.    Four GCSEs at grade C or above, English and Maths being compulsory; or
2.    Two A level passes and 1 GSCE level to include English; or
3.    Three AS level passes to include either English or Maths; or
4.    GNVQ at intermediate or advance level, provided a communications skills element is included; or
5.    Passed a written aptitude test set by the ACL.

What are the education requirements?

Qualifying course

The Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) is the representative body for Costs Lawyers and is responsible for the training required to qualify.

The Association of Cost Lawyers Training (ACLT), is the training arm of the ACL and delivers the only course leading to qualification as a Costs Lawyer. It is a level 6 qualification divided into three year-long components. Students must complete assignments, compulsory practical seminars and an end of unit examination. If you have no previous legal qualifications, you would need to complete all three parts of the course, however, if you have legal qualifications, such as a qualifying law degree or Graduate Diploma in Law, you could apply for exemptions. Further information about the course is available on our website in the Costs Lawyers Qualifying Course Information section.

What are the work experience requirements?

Qualifying work experience

In addition to completing the course, you would also need to undertake three years of supervised practice, which can be done before, during or after the Costs Lawyer Qualification course.

Further information about training to qualify as a costs lawyer can be found in our Costs Lawyers section.

What else do I need?

Apply for a Costs Lawyer practising certificate

When you have successfully completed both the course and your supervised practice, you can then apply to the CLSB for a Costs Lawyer practising certificate.