Power to award legal costs
A court may, on application by a party to civil proceedings, at any stage in, and from time to time during, those proceedings—
- order that a party to the proceedings pay the costs of or incidental to the proceedings of one or more of the parties to the proceedings, or
- where proceedings before the court concern the estate of a deceased individual, or the property of a trust, order that the costs of or incidental to the proceedings of one or more parties to the proceedings be paid out of the property of the estate or trust.
The order may include an order that a party shall pay—
- a portion of another party’s costs,
- costs from or until a specified date, including a date before the proceedings were commenced,
- costs relating to one or more particular steps in the proceedings,
- where a party is partially successful in the proceedings, costs relating to the successful element or elements of the proceedings, and
- interest on costs from or until a specified date, including a date before the judgment.
Costs to follow event
A party who is entirely successful in civil proceedings is entitled to an award of costs against a party who is not successful in those proceedings, unless the court orders otherwise, having regard to the particular nature and circumstances of the case, and the conduct of the proceedings by the parties, including—
- conduct before and during the proceedings,
- whether it was reasonable for a party to raise, pursue or contest one or more issues in the proceedings,
- the manner in which the parties conducted all or any part of their cases,
- whether a successful party exaggerated his or her claim,
- whether a party made a payment into court and the date of that payment,
- whether a party made an offer to settle the matter the subject of the proceedings, and if so, the date, terms and circumstances of that offer, and
- where the parties were invited by the court to settle the claim (whether by mediation or otherwise) and the court considers that one or more than one of the parties was or were unreasonable in refusing to engage in the settlement discussions or in mediation.
Where the court orders that a party who is entirely successful in civil proceedings is not entitled to an award of costs against a party who is not successful in those proceedings, it shall give reasons for that order. Where a party succeeds against one or more than one of the parties to civil proceedings but not against all of them, the court may order, to the extent that the court considers that it is proper to do so in all the circumstances, that—
- the successful party pay any or all of the costs of the party against whom he or she has not succeeded, or
- the party or more than one of the parties against whom the successful party has succeeded pay not only the costs of the successful party but also any or all of the costs that the successful party is liable to pay).
Unless the court before which civil proceedings were commenced orders otherwise, or the parties to those proceedings agree otherwise, a party who discontinues or abandons the proceedings after they are commenced (including discontinuance or abandonment of an appeal) is liable to pay the reasonable costs of every other party who has incurred costs in the defence of the civil proceedings concerned until the discontinuance or abandonment.
An award of costs may require payment of costs immediately, notwithstanding that the proceedings have not been concluded. The High Court and other court in making the words of costs must have regard to the factors set out in the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015.
Where a case is moved to the High Court from another court or tribunal which has jurisdiction the costs in the quarter tribunal below ought to be those which apply.
The court in awarding costs may direct that a sum is to be paid in lieu of adjudicated costs. In deciding the case either of its own initiative or on application of the parties the court may appoint an independent legal costs accountant to report on the work to which the costs relate and shall direct that the parties are to be given a copy of the report. The cost of preparing the report is to be added to the sum awarded.
At any stage in proceedings the court may require the parties to produce to the court and exchange estimates of the costs incurred by them as such. As the court directs which will be particularised in the manner as the court directs.
Where at trial or other proceeding it appears to the court that the matter cannot conveniently proceed the court may for the purpose of ascertaining whether this is due to the negligence of legal practitioner to attend or arrange them on to attend failure to properly prepare for the trial or omission to take any necessary steps required by the rules of practice discretion adjourn the matter for 14 days to give legal practitioner the chance to make submissions. Having considered the submissions the court may determine that if the failure or omission because the proceedings to be stalled or adjourned it may order the legal practitioner to personally pay the other party the costs which the court sees fit to award.
Where costs are awarded by court order to be paid to a party to proceedings either by another party or out of a fund they are to be adjudicated on a party and party basis are set out in the Legal Services Regulation Act section 155 and schedule one. The court may at its discretion ordered them to be paid on the legal practitioner and client basis for it thinks fit.
Where costs have been incurred in contentious business (litigation the bill of costs required by the Legal Services Regulation Act is to include as individual items the steps and activities set out in the scale of costs in appendix A and must be prepared in accordance with the notes and provisions in it.