N256: Final Costs Certificate Case Study

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ARC Costs were recently successful in obtaining a Final Costs Certificate and the associated costs of applying for the same pursuant to CPR 47.10, PD 9.2 for a Claimant solicitor.

What is an N256?

An N256 is the form used to apply for a Final Costs Certificate. A Final Costs Certificate is a formal document issued by a court in England and Wales that certifies the amount of costs awarded to a party following a detailed assessment or costs hearing. It is part of the procedure under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) for recovering legal costs incurred during litigation.

The N256 certifies the amount of costs that the court has determined one party must pay to another, either following a detailed assessment by a costs judge or by agreement between the parties.

If the costs are disputed, a detailed assessment is conducted by the court where the costs claimed by one party are scrutinised. The court then decides the amount that is reasonable and should be paid.

In some cases, parties may agree on the costs without the need for a detailed assessment however, the agreed amount may not necessarily be certified by the court unless an Order is lodged with the Court.

This is not common practice, and whilst agreements to pay a specific amount of costs are often accompanied with a statement that such amounts should be paid within 14-21 days, often these payment timescales pass without costs having been paid.

In such cases, it is prudent for any Receiving Party to apply for a Final Costs Certificate, so as to obtain a Court judgment for the specified amount in their favour, and which can be enforced.

The N256 certificate will specify the total amount of costs awarded, including any interest and VAT if applicable. It provides a formal and enforceable record of the costs decision.

Once issued, the N256 Final Costs Certificate can be used to enforce the payment of costs. If the party liable to pay does not comply with the certificate, the receiving party can take enforcement action, such as applying for a charging order, attachment of earnings, or other enforcement mechanisms available under the CPR.

N256 Case Study

In this case, on behalf of the Claimant, ARC Costs sought an Order for the provision of a Final Costs Certificate and the associated costs of applying for the same, pursuant to CPR 47.10, PD 9.2.

The substantive action had concluded with an offer and acceptance for costs to be agreed upon, amounting to a total modest sum of £7,750, agreed on the 13th of September 2023. However, the Defendant had only paid £6,000 on account, leaving an outstanding balance of £1,750 and they ignored correspondence for a number of months to pay the balance.  This was somewhat surprising given that the Paying Party was a Local Authority.

On behalf of the Claimant, we submitted an Application Notice to the Court requesting:

  1. An Order for a Final Costs Certificate for the unpaid sum of £1,750.
  2. Interest on the outstanding amount at a rate of 8% per annum.
  3. Costs of the application to be awarded to the Claimant

It was stated as part of the application that it was preferable for the matter to be dealt with on the papers to minimise costs however, the application was marked for a remote hearing if deemed necessary by the Court due to the Defendant’s lack of consent to the application or a paper determination of the final order.

Notice of this application was provided to the Defendant, and a Draft Order was enclosed with the application.

Despite this, no payment proposals were forthcoming despite chasers.

A hearing was subsequently held to address the application. During the hearing, the Defendant Council conceded and agreed to pay the outstanding costs of £1,750 within 14 days. Additionally, the Court ordered that the Claimant’s application costs be paid by the Defendant in the sum of £1,700.

The request for interest at 8% per annum was acknowledged as part of the agreement.

This resolution ensured that the Claimant received the full amount of costs agreed upon initially, plus compensation for the costs incurred in making the application, thereby bringing the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.

How can ARC Costs Assist?

The costs team at ARC Costs are a highly experienced team of Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers that assist legal professionals and lay persons in the recovery or challenging of costs.

We can assist in the enforcement of agreed costs by contacting the paying party in an attempt to obtain agreed costs, and thereafter making an application for a final costs certificate, if the other side refuse to pay.

If you require any free initial advice, or our assistance with regards to any aspect of costs, please email us at info@arccosts.co.uk, or contact us via the Contact Us page and one of the team will get in touch on the same working day.  Our team can also be contacted by phone on 01204 397302.

We can also provide assistance with anything relating to your legal costs claim, whether it be preparing a Costs Budget, to preparing the Bill of Costs and negotiating recovery of your outstanding fees. Simply get in touch to find out more.


4 Bark Street East, Bolton, BL1 2BQ

01204 397302


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