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Product Overview

CostsMaster Draftsman is an intuitive software tool that lets you create accurately calculated, high quality costs budgets, bills of costs including the new electronic bill and LAA forms (including CCMS online billing).

It can help you record work accurately and conveniently, with the ability to produce several different types of bills including the new electronic bill, along with all the relevant schedules.

Work can be imported from a time recording system and then amended or excluded by the draftsman as appropriate.

Budgets can be monitored and the value of newly recorded worked compared to the anticipated value of that work.

The program has been written and extensively tested by experienced and currently practising costs draftsmen. It therefore allows you to record work with no more effort than would be required with pencil and paper.

The documents are produced without the need to dictate, calculate figures or check a typist’s work. It is however versatile enough to allow you to record work, and a typist to produce long narratives for you.

For those without fast typing speeds a list of abbreviations negates the need for a lot of repetitive entry of words and phrases.

It is extremely versatile and allows bills to be produced to reflect your individual preferred style in many areas.

The software has been in use for many years and bills produced with it have been assessed in the SCCO and County Courts.

The program lets you create the new electronic bill; 3, 4 & 6 column bills containing either LAA work, inter partes work or both, Costs Budgets, Breakdowns and Statements, CLAIM1s and CLAIM1As, Notices of Commencement, Disbursement reports as well as high quality LAA High Cost Case Plans in a variety of formats including Events Case Plans.

Detailed Features

Budgets

Produce budgets quickly in both Word & Excel with optional supporting documentation for the advocate at the hearing

Import opponents’ budget and produce a comparison (in both Word & Excel)

Manage Budgets simply and effectively and produce a report of how the current costs stack up against the budget

Import Work

Import work from time recording systems in XML, CSV or Excel format

Easily map CSV files not in the prescribed format and save the mapping for future use

Quickly split bulk work into individual elements, add any missing work and exclude non-recoverable items

Import work from other CostsMaster files

Bills

Wide choice of bills in 3, 4 and 6 column formats.

Fast creation of documents – even the largest bills take less than half a minute to produce

Prepare bills by phase for budgeted cases

Support for new electronic bills

Get a fast indication of your likely recovery on assessment to assist in negotiations

Prepare breakdowns and Statements of Costs including Form N260

Support for Court of Protection bills in both long and short forms

Produce Notices of Commencement of Detailed Assessment

Legal Aid

Support for CCMS for solicitors costs (with continued support for CLAIM1 & CLAIM1A for cases not migrated to CCMS)

Prepare standard and events based case plans

Support for all PFLRS and CPGFS fixed fees and FAS.

Comprehensive facilities for recording enhancement

Schedules of inter partes costs at Legal Aid rates calculated automatically

Productivity

Preview any document instantly

Display running totals for the bill or current part with options regarding the level of detail shown

With a few keystrokes, the rates used in a bill or budget can be changed and the bill recalculated in a matter of seconds.

A range of searches allow you to locate items that are blank or that have unassigned phases, estimated time or are excluded.

Create templates with frequently entered data to save you time when starting a new file.

Abbreviations can be defined for frequently used words and phrases which are immediately expanded to their full text – a huge time saver.

Record notes which can optionally appear as annotations in exported documents

Program functions can be accessed by mouse or by keyboard shortcut for speed when costing a file.

Safety features include timed auto saves and incremental backups to preserve data in the event of a system crash.

Use the History window to instantly revert to any point in the current session or any saved backup.

Save the contents of any grid to a CSV file for loading into Excel

Quickly locate items in grids using the comprehensive filter and sort options.

View attendances and disbursements from all parts in a single window

Customisation

Extensive options determine the layout, content and wording of bills and other documents.

The finished bill is automatically calculated and assembled in your choice of word processor. There are over 100 common phrases that are used in the finished bill all of which are user definable to allow you to create a bill that is as personal to you as if you had dictated it.

The finished bill is produced either with lines embedded or on blank paper for draftsmen who have their paper printed. The line colour can be customised and there is an option for high quality lines which closely match that of printed paper.

You have the option for documents and long attendances to be included entirely in the bill, entirely in a schedule or in a schedule where they exceed a definable number.

The settings for documents and long attendances can be different.

Choose which columns you want displayed in each grid (and the order in which they appear) whilst still being able to access lesser used fields via the edit window.

Recording Work

Claim attendances as time or a lump sum figure. Time can be entered interchangeably as minutes, units or hours and minutes and the program will automatically interpret the time you have recorded.

Claim VAT at different rates for each part

Easily aggregate work recorded against fee earners into a category or grade for the exported document. The draftsman has the flexibility to break down the work in any manner he wishes and to decide at any time how to present the work in the finished bill. All work can be reassigned to different fee earners at will.

Enhancement can be defined globally, for one or more defined periods, for all work done by a particular fee earner, for attendances on a particular party or for any other item you wish. Each attendance can be excluded as can all attendances on a particular party or all work by a particular fee earner. Separate enhancement can be defined for preparation items and procedural steps. Items which never attract enhancement are automatically excluded.

Costs of Assessment can be claimed and provision is made for fixed prescribed rate costs. The costs draftsman’s fee can be claimed as a percentage and is calculated automatically. The fee can be claimed as a disbursement, lump sum or pseudo-hourly rate profit cost, part by part or for the entire bill.

Pricing Options

Product Initial Payments Monthly Subscription
First licence £400.00 £75.00
Additional licences £200.00 £60.00
Spare Individual (unactivated) dongles £20.00 n/a
Replacment Individual (activated) dongles £100.00 n/a
Spare Network (unactivated) dongles POA n/a
Replacement Network (activated) dongles POA n/a

All prices above will be subject to VAT.

Annual payments in advance qualify for a discount of 10% on the Monthly subscription fees. Orders of 10 licences or more may qualify for a volume discount. Please contact us for a quotation.

The subscription fee covers your continuing right to use the software, technical support and upgrades to the software which we will make available as soon as they are ready. The subscription fee may increase over time if necessary to maintain our quality of service to you.

If you have any questions please send us an email and we will be happy to answer them.

To purchase the software please first download the program. When you install and run this you will be greeted with a window that will take you through the creation of an Order form.

Are you a sole trader? If so you may qualify for our special introductory offer.

We are waiving the monthly subscription for costs draftsmen who are sole traders for the first three months. This offer applies only to persons purchasing a single licence who are in business either on their own account or as a freelance Costs Draftsman.

To take advantage of this offer simply download the software in the usual way. When the program is started a “trial window” is displayed that will contain a “purchase” button. Click this to generate an Order form and standing order payment which can then be dated three months hence.

Please note: We reserve the right to refuse to grant a licence under the terms of this offer if we feel the circumstances warrant us so doing.

System Requirements

Operating System

  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 10 (Home & Pro – Windows 10S is not currently supported)
  • Windows Server 2016

Office Software for Bill Generation [1]

  • Word 2007
  • Excel 2007 (for Costs Budgets and New Format Bills only)
  • Word 2010
  • Excel 2010 (for Costs Budgets and New Format Bills only)
  • Word 2013
  • Excel 2013 (for Costs Budgets and New Format Bills only)
  • Word 2016
  • Excel 2016 (for Costs Budgets and New Format Bills only)

Display

  • 1024 x 768 Screen Resolution. Multiple Displays supported.

CPU

Pentium IV 3Ghz or faster processor (Dual Core 1Ghz or faster recommended)

Memory

512MB – 1GB Ram (1 – 2GB recommended) >

Hard Drive Space

30 MB free space on your hard drive

Other Hardware

1 free USB port for the hardware dongle

Notes

[1]: CostsMaster creates all documents in Rich Text Format (RTF) and in theory supports the display of bills in other word processors. In practice this depends on how well the word processor in question implements RTF. If you wish to use CostsMaster with anything other than the Word Processors noted above we would recommend downloading the trial and establishing for yourself the extent to which the word processor is compatible.

Open Office works mostly though some features such as traditional format bills and advanced lines in columned bills are not available. In addition there are minor display issues with CLAIM1 & CLAIM1A forms and Civil Case plans which can be overcome with minor manual intervention (please contact us for further details).

The Costs Budget can also be produced in an Excel format (.XLSX) and this has been tested with Excel versions from 2007. Earlier versions may work, though the (optional) colours may render incorrectly. The Costs Budget Comparison will only work with Excel 2007 and later. The new electronic bill can also be produced in XLSX format and requires Excel 2007 or later.

What our users are saying.

  • Simple to use, covers the vast majority of Bills that I prepare and its accuracy when calculating large multi-part bills is second to none. Darren Price, Willis Legal

  • Almost certainly the most efficient drafting software currently available. John Pickett, TM Costings

  • CostsMaster is definitely one of the best software programmes for legal costing. Rachel Harding-Hill, TRS Legal Costs

  • Keep up the good work, could not live without CostsMaster especially now with CCMS! Jeff Francis, Costs Lawyer

  • I love the costs budget scales and Precedent Q exported table. Abbi Sargeant, Asons Solicitors

  • It makes it so easy to prepare such a vast range of documents at the click of a button. Melissa Aspin, John M Hayes

  • Made by Costs Lawyers for Costs Lawyers. Need I say more? Anil Virji, Civil & Commercial