The Jackson Reforms Steering Committee, in 2014, developed a set of UTBMS codes, namely the J-Codes as a part of the new model-form Bill of Costs, the nBOC. The J-Codes were devised with an aim to produce uniformity during litigation cases when courts need to assess the costs that have to be awarded.
These litigation task codes are exclusive to the regions of England and Wales. The implementation of J-codes while charging for litigation cases while no longer mandatory, is highly recommended given how they are used in the thorough analysis of the electronic bills to minimize losses.
To the Uniform Task-Based Management System i.e. UTBMS, as a part of an act to modernize the existing Bill of Costs, J-codes were added by the LEDES Oversight Committee and hence these are known as the EW-UTBMS J-Codes. This ensured that the UTBMS was updated in accordance with the New Model-Form Bill of Costs, the nBOC.
The primary objective of implementing the EW-UTBMS J-Codes is to promote a more transparent system for costs to be charged during litigation cases. In the nBOC, the costs can be analyzed at various levels and thereby are informative. Moreover, the system promotes consistency in the presentation of the costs to judges in the specified regions so that they can be analyzed at various levels of detail.
To achieve this consistency in the entries presented in the court and the ones entered into the firm’s billing system, a set of common codes have been introduced, the J-codes.
The Significance of EW-UTBMS J-codes
The EW-UTBMS J-codes are set in such a way that they are easily adaptable by various organizations given they are intuitive enough and compatible with the present billing systems in place. J-codes are categorized and listed as phase codes and task codes.
Given how they standardize the billing system and pave a path for presentation and analysis of costs in a consistent and collaborative manner, compliance with the EW-UTBMS J-codes is of high importance. Furthermore, using these J-codes are extremely helpful when the court needs to compare the proposed budget with the actual cost incurred in case of significant variations.
Lord Justice Jackson predicts that in a matter of a few years, people will be amazed that they have put up with the traditional pen and paper method of billing for so long. In his own words, the non-electronic outdated billing system is ‘opaque, giving no clear information to the reader as to why costs were incurred or even the underlying work is done.’
Hence occurred a need for immediate development of software that could be used to capture information and activities in a timely manner, provide facilities for detailed assessment and undisputable transparency of cases and associated costs.
Since April 2018, it has become mandatory for the law firms in England and Wales to submit their bill of costs electronically. The obvious advantage of this is that it saves the firms both time and money. This calls for the immediate need of an updated electronic billing system that aids timekeepers in the preparation and submission of invoices that is compliant with the nBOC.
With Accurate Legal Billing, implementing the EW-UTBMS J-codes and submitting invoices in accordance with the nBOC is an easy task for law firms as they are already available in the software’s directory.
Using ALB’s innovative online time capturing and invoice preparation/submission platform, law firms are guaranteed the provision of an up-to-date all-inclusive software that is adaptable and easy to use by timekeepers and billing clerks.