A new bill of costs will become compulsory from October 2017, following the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Committee's decision to decouple it from mandatory use of the J-Codes.

J-Codes are a set of electronic codes for the recording of time. They allow lawyers to record work under an assigned code so that it is categorised within the Precedent H hierarchy of phases / tasks / activities.

Lord Justice Jackson recommended a new format bill of costs needed to be brought into effect; however it should be decoupled from the J-Codes as it would allow "greater flexibility" and make it more palatable to the profession.

Following the latest update to the CPR, a new bill of costs pilot scheme has been in force since 3 October 2016. The CPR Committee has said the voluntary pilot has been extended for a further year and amendments have been made "with a view to establishing a mandatory form of bill of costs to apply to all work done after 1 October 2017".

The amendments were made following concerns raised about the existing bill's reliance on J-Codes. It is hoped these amendments will alleviate the concerns as "parties will be able to file their bill in electronic format which will assist the court in assessing the bill as any adjustment made by the court, to say the rate or hours claimed, will automatically be carried through to all relevant parts of the bill".

The aim is to have the mandatory form fixed in May 2017 after the CPR Committee has monitored and reviewed the amended pilot scheme.