Q&As

Where a costs order is made on a joint and several liability basis against multiple defendants, how should that costs order be paid? Each defendant individually pro rata or one defendant who then recovers from all the other defendants?

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Produced in partnership with Jonathan Edwards of Radcliffe Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 08/08/2017

The following Dispute Resolution Q&A produced in partnership with Jonathan Edwards of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a costs order is made on a joint and several liability basis against multiple defendants, how should that costs order be paid? Each defendant individually pro rata or one defendant who then recovers from all the other defendants?
  • Status of costs orders and enforcement by receiving party
  • The position as between the paying parties
  • Summary of the position

Where a costs order is made on a joint and several liability basis against multiple defendants, how should that costs order be paid? Each defendant individually pro rata or one defendant who then recovers from all the other defendants?

This Q&A considers the status of a costs order which is made against multiple parties on a joint and several basis, and the principle of contribution claims in respect of a joint and several debt.

Status of costs orders and enforcement by receiving party

The status of an order to pay an amount in respect of costs has the status of a money judgment—see section 17 of the Judgments Act 1838 and section 74 of the County Courts Act 1984 regarding interest, and CPR 70.1(2)(d) regarding enforcement. Of course, many costs orders take the form of an order in principle with the amount to be assessed if not agreed. Such orders, lacking a fixed amount, do not have the same status.

Where multiple parties are obliged to pay a specified amount on a joint and several basis, it is open to the receiving party to pursue one or any combination of the paying parties, as with any joint and several liability. The only way for any paying party to prevent enforcement action being taken against them is to ensure that the full amount due

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