Legal Basics: Legal Costs
Updated: Nov 25, 2020
One common question from clients is whether if you succeed in a matter you have all of your legal costs paid for.
This may seem like a simple question but it is a complex one which depends on the specific circumstances of the case and what type of matter it is.
As a general rule however, it is very rare to have all of your costs paid for.
If you win or lose, what costs will you recover or pay?
In most litigation matters, there is a general rule that costs follow the cause which means that the “winning” party are entitled to their costs. However, this figure, except in exceptional and specific circumstances, does not usually result in the winning party having all of their costs paid for, but rather a portion of them that have been reasonably incurred in the matter. This portion usually covers what we call “party/party” costs. This represents costs incurred in presenting the case to the court or communicating with the opposition. What is not usually covered are conferences and communications with your solicitor and barrister.
In some jurisdictions there are further limitations on costs. For example, employment law matters brought pursuant to the Fair Work Act does not allow for costs at all unless the case is very far-fetched. In criminal matters there is a very high threshold that needs to be established before you can obtain costs against the prosecution.
It is important that when you consult your solicitor that you understand as soon as possible what the various costs scenarios are in relation to your matter. This is particularly so where you yourself will be at a risk of being on the receiving end of a cost order!
Our solicitors will consult the issue of costs with you. If you wish to discuss how we can assist you with your matter, please contact us on 02 9667 1271 or email us.
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