By Lee Carter, specialist Costs Draftsman 
 
Practitioners seeking to recover their Costs can often be unaware of the process and timescales involved. 
 
No wonder. With numerous cases to juggle, their top priority is to ensure clients can receive access to justice. 
 
For cases which have settled with an agreement that the paying party do pay the receiving party’s costs on the standard or indemnity basis, subject to detailed assessment, recovery is a two-step process – once the Court has sealed and approved the Order for Costs. 
 
Stage 1 – Commence Detailed Assessment 
 
Once a practitioner has received an Order for Costs, our experienced team will commence the Detailed Assessment stage. 
 
Usually, you’ll receive an order for costs if Part 7 proceedings have been issued by your substantive Part 36 agreement or final sealed Tomlin Order. 
 
For cases which settle without Court proceedings, we have to issue Part 8 proceedings so that we can obtain an Order for Costs to be able to start Detailed Assessment. 
 
In terms of deadlines, you have 3 months from the date of the Order to commence Detailed Assessment and 6 months to request an assessment hearing pursuant to CPR 47.7. You’ll need to be conscious that interest may be limited and the Defendant may make an unless application for failure to serve N252 and/or N258 within those timescales. 
 
Stage 2 – Commence Bill of Costs assessment 
 
Now it’s time to serve the defendant with Notice of Commencement of assessment of Bill of Costs of only proceedings, often referred to as document N252. 
 
Below is an overview of the 7 steps required: 
 
1. N252 is formally served on the Defendant. 
 
2. The Defendant has 21 days to serve Points of Dispute (PODs) on the practitioner (not the court). 
 
Any points of dispute MUST include: 
 
Details of the items in the Bill of Costs which they dispute 
Concise details of the nature and grounds of the dispute for each item and, if seeking a reduction in those items, suggest (where practicable), a reduced figure. 
 
3. If they fail to serve PODs within 21 days, we can enter judgment for the full amount of the Bill of Costs – known as a Default Costs Certificate. This is an order that requires full payment of the Bill of Costs to be made within 14 days 
 
4. If they serve PODs, we have 21 days to serve Points of Reply, although they are optional. 
 
5. If the parties cannot reach agreement over the amount of Costs, we must formally request a provisional or detailed assessment hearing. 
 
6. Should this be necessary; we would need to file a bundle of the Solicitor’s papers not less than 7 days before the provisional or detailed assessment hearing. 
 
7. The Court will assess the papers, based upon the PODs and replies. If the Costs are less than £75,000.00 (net of VAT), the case will provisionally undergo a paper-based assessment. An in-person assessment will take place if it is more than £75,000.00 (net of VAT). 
 
Get help & advice from our expert Costs Lawyers 
 
If you’re unsure about any of the processes outlined above, don’t worry! 
 
Our vastly-experienced team of law costs draftsmen and costs lawyers will successfully challenge disputes on your behalf. 
 
We specialise in costs litigation and the maximum recovery of costs – so you receive the recognition your hard work deserves. 
 
If you’d like to save time and minimise the stress of complex costs negotiations, call 01482 534567 for an informal discussion. 
 
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