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1. Before you apply for an assessment

You can apply for a detailed assessment if you’ve been awarded costs from a court case but can’t agree with the other party what you should get.

You must tell the other party before you apply, so you can try to agree before the assessment hearing. If you still can’t agree the detailed assessment will say how much the other party should pay you.

The process is different if you want to challenge a bill from your solicitor.

Tell the other party

You must first tell (‘serve’) the other party and anyone else with a financial interest in your case (eg your solicitor) that you’re applying for a detailed assessment. You must do this in writing within 3 months of getting the original court order that awarded you costs.

Send each person:

  • a completed commencement of assessment form (N252)
  • details of the costs you’re claiming (your ‘bill of costs’)
  • copies of fee notes from your solicitor and any expert witnesses whose fees are on the bill
  • receipts or invoices for any expenses on your bill that are £250 or more

Try to agree the bill of costs

The other party will have 21 days to reply. They might send you a list of their ‘points of dispute’ if they disagree with anything in your bill of costs. This will usually say which costs they disagree with and if they’d like to offer you a reduced amount.

You can try to agree on a reduced bill of costs with the other party outside of court by sending them a list of your ‘points of reply’. You must do this within 14 days of getting the points of dispute.

You can ask the court for a detailed assessment if you still can’t agree your costs with the other party.

If the other party doesn’t send you points of dispute

You can apply to the court for a default costs certificate if the other party doesn’t send you any points of dispute. You won’t have to get a detailed assessment.

You can apply for a certificate from 21 days after the other party gets your commencement of assessment form, but no later than 6 months after the original court order that awarded you costs.

Download and fill in:

You must fill in a different certificate if your original case was dealt with by a county court and your bill of costs is for £5,000 or less.

Where to apply for a certificate

If your case was in the High Court, Court of Appeal or London County Court, you should send your completed forms:

  • to the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) if you’re in London
  • to your local District Registry (a court that deals with certain High Court cases) if you’re outside London

Senior Courts Costs Office
TM 7.12
Royal Courts of Justice

If your case was in a county court outside London, you should apply in that court.

What happens next

Copies of the certificate will be stamped with an issue date and sent to both you and the other party. The certificate will order the other party to pay your costs in full within 14 days of the issue date.