Cost orders—the general rule and the court's discretion

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Cost orders—the general rule and the court's discretion
  • Court's discretion to deal with costs—Senior Courts Act 1981
  • What is meant by costs and the phrase ‘of and incidental to’
  • The ambit of the power to order to costs
  • CPR provisions governing costs recovery
  • Court's discretion to deal with costs—CPR 44
  • Timing
  • Determining whether to make a costs order
  • A judge can decline to make an order for costs
  • Directions hearings
  • More...

Cost orders—the general rule and the court's discretion

This Practice Note looks at costs judges’ discretion to make costs orders (CPR 44 and its accompanying Practice Direction, CPR PD 44). It considers the courts’ discretion to deal with costs and the indemnity principle. The general rule is that ‘costs follow the event’ ie that the successful party may recover its costs. The Practice Note also considers when the general rule does not apply ie the courts’ discretion to depart from the general rule, exercise its discretion and make a different type of costs order having considered all the circumstances of the case. There is no requirement for exceptional circumstances for a different costs order to be made. Other issues considered are what costs orders can be made, making cost submissions, whether costs orders should be deferred when dealing with split trials and costs against specific persons such as solicitors or counsel and the position where parties have settled a dispute subject to costs.

Note while judgments referred to in this Practice Note pre-date 1 April 2013, when the relevant Costs CPR provisions came into effect, they address provisions within the CPR which were unchanged.

Other Practice Notes which may be of interest are:

  1. Costs and the indemnity principle

  2. Pre-action costs—recovery

  3. Interim applications—costs recovery

  4. Settlement—costs recovery

  5. Costs orders—group litigation claims

For information on specific types of costs orders,

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