Proportionate cost orders
Proportionate cost orders

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

  • Proportionate cost orders
  • The general rule and proportionate costs orders—CPR provisions
  • Proportionate cost orders—court's general approach
  • Proportionate or issue-based orders—the court's approach
  • Principles applied by the courts
  • Relevance of settlement attempts
  • Fixing the percentage of proportionate costs orders
  • Illustrative judgments

Proportionate cost orders

The general rule and proportionate costs orders—CPR provisions

The general position is that the court will order that the losing party pay the successful party's costs. However, in some circumstances the court may depart from this and order a proportionate costs order. This allows the court to order that one party pay a proportion of another party's costs.

The power of the court to make such an order is recognised in CPR 44.2(6)(a) which provides:

‘6.  The orders which the court may make under this rule include an order that a party must pay—

(a)  a proportion of another party's costs’

When considering this provision you will also need to consider the preceding parts of the rule, including CPR 44.2(4) which requires the court to have regard to all the circumstances and CPR 44.2(5) which considers the conduct of the parties. For more information, see Practice Notes: Cost orders—the general rule and the court's discretion and Costs orders—conduct and misconduct.

Proportionate cost orders—court's general approach

The power to make a proportionate costs order is properly recognised as a power but there is no requirement for such an order to be made (Iraqi Civilians v Ministry of Defence). In Iraqi Civilians, Leggatt J noted the following points which practitioners may bear in mind when seeking or resisting an application for a proportionate costs order:

  1. it is entirely usual in litigation

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