Can I charge for routine communications?

I’m preparing a bill for detailed assessment of costs. Can I charge for perusal of letters in?

You cannot charge for perusal of letters in as a separate head of costs.

The costs treatment of such work depends on whether:

  • the letters are ‘routine’ or not, and
  • the perusal is part of the preparation of an electronic communication which properly amounts to an ‘attendance’

For ‘routine’ letters in, perusal time is rolled up within the six-minute unit preparation time allowed for a routine letter out (paragraph 5.22 of Practice Direction 47 of the Civil Procedure Rules).

“5.22. The following provisions relate to work done by legal representatives —

(1) Routine letters out, routine e-mails out and routine telephone calls will in general be allowed on a unit basis of 6 minutes each, the charge being calculated by reference to the appropriate hourly rate.

The unit charge for letters out and e-mails out will include perusing and considering the routine letters in or e-mails in.”

Routine communications are those which because of their simplicity should not be regarded as letters or e-mails of substance or telephone calls which properly amount to an attendance (paragraph 5.14).

Paragraph 5.22 (2) provides:

“(2) The court may, in its discretion, allow an actual time charge for preparation of electronic communications sent by legal representatives, which properly amount to attendances provided that the time taken has been recorded.”

Where the time spent on perusal of letters in amounts to an attendance, it will be part of the actual time spent at the relevant hourly rate on the preparation of a relevant communication.

For further information, see Practice Direction 47 of the Civil Procedure Rules.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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