Form N258: Request for Assessment

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Form N258

Form N258 is a form used to request a provisional or detailed assessment of costs by the court. This form is typically utilised in civil litigation matters where there is a dispute over the amount of costs that should be awarded to a party.

Listed below is a general overview of the process of requesting an assessment of costs using Form N258:

  • Completion of Form N258: The party that seeks an assessment of costs completes Form N258. This form provides details about the case, the parties involved, the costs claimed, and the reasons for the assessment request.  It also clarifies whether a provisional assessment (costs of £75,000 or less) or an attended detailed assessment (costs over £75,000) is required.

 

  • Grounds for assessment: The party requesting the Provisional or Detailed Assessment hearing must provide reasons for why they believe the costs should be assessed by the Court. This could include disputes over the reasonableness of costs claimed, disagreements over the type of costs, or other issues related to the calculation of costs.  Typically this requirement is fulfilled by enclosing the Points of Dispute and Points of Reply with the Form N258.

 

  • Filing the form: Once completed, the Form N258 is filed with the relevant Court, usually the County Court or the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) with the relevant Court fee (details can be found in the EX50). The Court will then process the form and set a date for the Assessment Hearing.

 

  • Notification to other party: The party requesting the assessment must serve a copy of Form N258 on the other party or parties involved in the case. This gives them notice of the assessment request and the opportunity to respond.

 

  • Assessment Hearing: On the scheduled date (which will be confirmed by way of a Notice of Hearing), an assessment hearing will be held.  If this is a Provisional Assessment, this will be a paper hearing at which the parties are ordered not to attend. If an attended hearing, during the same, both parties have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence regarding the costs claimed. The Court will consider the evidence and make a determination on the appropriate amount of costs to be awarded.

 

  • Court’s decision: At an attended hearing, the Judge will normally hand down their decision on the final day of the hearing.  For a Provisional Assessment hearing, the Court will issue a decision regarding the assessment of costs by post. This decision will outline the amount of costs to be awarded and the rationale behind the decision. The decision is legally binding after 21 days and if no party requests an oral hearing to review the provisional assessment.  

 

Practice Direction 13.2 (Documents to be filed in support of Form N258)

 

CPR Part 47 deals with the procedure for detailed assessment of costs. Practice Direction 13 (PD 13) under CPR 47 provides additional guidance on various aspects of the assessment process.

PD 13.2 outlines the documents that should be filed when requesting an assessment of costs. These documents provide the necessary information and evidence to support the assessment. Some of the documents typically required to be filed in support of a request for assessment may include:

  • Form N252 (Notice of Commencement of Detailed Assessment)
  • Bill of Costs: This is a detailed breakdown of the costs claimed by the party seeking assessment.
  • Relevant supporting documents: These could include any documents that help justify the costs claimed, such as time records, invoices, receipts, and other evidence of expenses.
  • Costs summary: A summary of the costs claimed, categorizing them by work type and amount.
  • Precedent Q: This form provides details of the costs claimed for each phase of the case.
  • Retainer: If there is a dispute as to the liability to pay costs, a copy of the retainer should be filed.
  • Additional documents: Depending on the case and the specific costs claimed, other documents might be necessary to provide a comprehensive understanding of the costs involved, though these would usually be served at a later date in advance of the detailed assessment hearing, and or not necessarily required simply to request the detailed assessment hearing.

 

PD 13.12 (Documents to be lodged at Court for any assessment, but not with the initial request)

This provision refers to the documents that need to be lodged with the Court for the assessment hearing itself, but not necessarily submitted with the initial request for assessment. These documents are typically lodged closer to the assessment hearing date, the specifics of which will be addressed in directions that accompany any notice of hearing.

Typically for a Provisional Assessment, further papers to those filed when making the Request for Assessment are not typically needed, though some Courts may specifically request the same.

For an attended detailed assessment hearing however, the Court expects the full papers to be available, which should include:

  • (i) Instructions and briefs to Counsel;
  • (ii) Reports of any experts;
  • (iii) Other relevant papers, which may include any disclosure documents relied upon that may want to be scrutinised by the Court;
  • (iv) Statements of case;
  • (v) Correspondence, file notes and attendance notes.

It is recommended that all documents are in chronological order, and also that an electronic bundle is prepared which is indexed and paginated, so that items are clickable from the index.  Electronic bundles should also be searchable (utilising the OCR functionality in Adobe).

A paper bundle may still be required by some Courts, and this will be requested if necessary.

 

How can ARC Costs assist with your Form N258 & Detailed Assessment

ARC Costs are a team of expert Costs Draftsman and Costs Lawyers who regularly act as independent costs experts, for either paying or receiving parties. We can assist in preparing all types of costs applicationsBills of Costs or Costs Budgets, as well as negotiating the best costs outcome. We also specialise in preparing Points of Dispute and Points of Reply, and as costs advocates, we can provide representation at any CCMC or during detailed assessment proceedings.

If you are at the stage of lodging for assessment, you may wish to speak with an independent costs expert to value your costs claim so as to assess the risks of proceeding.  We can also assist in ensuring the Request is filed compliantly, and also with providing any representation at any attended assessment hearing.

Should you wish ARC Costs to assist you in a costs matter, or if you just have a query, you may contact us on 01204 397302 or email one of our experts at info@arccosts.co.uk

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