What is the court to make of a situation in which a solicitor drafts a statute bill, but it then comes into the client’s possession by means other than intended delivery as a claim for payment? Is the client able to elect to regard the ‘bill’ as having been delivered? Soole J grappled with the question in Parvez v Mooney Everett Solicitors Ltd  EWHC 62 (QB)
What are the practical implications of this case?
It is trite costs law that, once delivered, a statute bill (ie a solicitor’s invoice that is bona fide compliant with the requirements of section 69(2) of the Solicitors Act 1974 (SA 1974)) cannot be withdrawn without either the consent of the client or the permission of the court (which is very hard to obtain). As such, if a draft statute bill were capable of being delivered without it having been sent to the client as a demand or claim for payment, this could cause difficulties if the solicitor subsequently wanted to deliver a different bill. This may happen, for example, if the draft was contained in a file of papers that was sent to a new firm of solicitors. Soole J has found that if the client came into possession of such a document, it is not open to him or her to elect to regard it as having been delivered.