Costs of discontinuing a claim—the general rule
Costs of discontinuing a claim—the general rule

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

  • Costs of discontinuing a claim—the general rule
  • What is discontinuance?
  • General rule for discontinued claims—the claimant pays defendant's costs
  • When the presumption in CPR 38.6 will be displaced
  • Effect of the discontinuance costs order on previous costs orders
  • Discontinuance—standard or indemnity costs?
  • Discontinuing a claim prior to service
  • Discontinuing part of the claim
  • Discontinuance against one defendant

What is discontinuance?

Discontinuance is the means by which a claimant can bring all or part of the proceedings it has instigated to an end by serving a formal notice of discontinuance. This has specific costs consequences which are set out in CPR 38.

For information on the process of discontinuance, which is when a claimant brings all or part of the proceedings to an end, see Practice Note: Discontinuance of a claim.

Where a proceedings are simply abandoned by a claim eg they issue proceedings and then serve the claim form, this is not a formal discontinuance and the provisions in CPR 38 will not apply.

For an example of a case where the court was required to determine on the facts whether it was dealing with discontinuance for costs purposes or not, see Dainford Navigation v PDVDS Petroleo.

Where there is no discontinuance but the defendant seeks costs recovery, the court has the discretion to make a costs order. For guidance, see Practice Notes:

  1. Pre-action—costs recovery—or the circumstances in which costs incurred during the pre-action phase may be recoverable

  2. Cost orders—the general rule and the court's discretion which looks at the judges discretion to make a costs order

General rule for discontinued claims—the claimant pays defendant's costs

When a claimant discontinues an action, one of the central issues for

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