Step Three - Apply For Detailed Assessment
Once you’ve received the ‘points of dispute’ from the other party, you can apply to get a hearing date for your detailed assessment, by filling in the detailed assessment request form (N258C) and send it off together with the court fee, which varies according to the size of the bill, but starts at £335 for all bills up to £15,000.
At this point your solicitor will draw up a detailed bill and “serve” it on them. They then have 21 days from service to provide "Points of Dispute" raising challenges to the bill. If they fail to raise any challenges within 21 days of service, a "Default Costs Certificate" will probably be obtained for payment of the full amount of the bill by them.
Once Points of Dispute have been served, unless you are both able to reach a compromise agreement, the case will proceed to a detailed assessment hearing. For costs less than £75,000, this will be a provisional hearing without the parties, otherwise it will be an oral hearing with the parties and/or their representatives. An oral hearing usually takes anything from an hour to a day, with either a lawyer or costs draftsman attending the hearing for each side.