Cost Orders

Costs orders are another form of legal jargon. The costs orders being discussed here are orders ‘between the parties’. This means when a party is successful at a hearing or trial, whether they should be entitled to have their costs paid by the other side and if so, how much? Charges payable by a client to their solicitor, are paid according to the contract and are rarely dealt with during a court case.

It is not unusual for clients to sit at hearings and trials and not understand whether they have "won", or what the judge has ordered on costs. It is only when the lawyer later tells the client, that they start to understand what has happened. If the judge was critical of the solicitor or barrister, the client may not get the full explanation.

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Understanding Costs Orders

What Types Of Cost Orders Are There?

Costs orders can be made by judges at interim and final hearings/trials or they can be automatic costs orders which are governed by statute and can be made automatically in certain situations.

A judge can make whatever order they see fit, but must exercise this discretion reasonably. They will normally give an explanation for the order made, however it may also be clear from what has taken place before. A judge can make 2 basic types of costs orders, namely interim costs orders and final cost orders.

A final costs order is one made at a final hearing or trial and is intended to deal conclusively with who should be paying the costs. All costs orders prior to this are interim orders and usually deal with which party will recover the costs of interim hearings/applications.

What If No Costs Order Is Given?

If the judge makes a No Costs order or is silent on costs (i.e. does not mention who is to pay the costs) at a hearing, then unless automatic costs provisions apply, neither side is entitled to recover their costs of the hearing. If the hearing was the trial/final hearing, then neither party will be able to recover any of the costs of the whole case. You would be amazed at the number of people who get carried away by the proceedings and forget to even ask. This can have massive financial repercussions for the client

What Factors Can Affect A Costs Order?

The main factor affecting a costs order is conduct. This is where a judge will look at whether the parties have acted unreasonably and followed protocols correctly. They will also look at whether the costs are proportional to the issues of the case. This now includes, for all civil and family cases, whether they have at least considered settling the case via ADR or mediation before going to court.

Does The Order Say How Much Should Be Paid?

Before you go to court, your solicitor should submit a costs budget to the court and this is what the judge will use when making a costs order. Often the costs will need to be assessed and they can either be assessed summarily immediately, or will be deferred for detailed assessment at a later date.

What Is The Timeframe For Payment Of The Costs?

Costs are payable within 14 days of the order, unless stated otherwise. The fact that these may have to await a detailed assessment does not stop interest running on those costs.

If you have anymore questions relating to costs orders please see our detailed pages on Automatic Costs Orders, Interim Costs Orders and Final Cost Orders or give us a call to discuss your particular situation.

If you need help with a costs order call us on 01935 823883