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Types of costs order available

This content applies to England & Wales

Interim costs orders, which are made during the course of proceedings, and the different types of interim and final costs orders that can be made.

Interim costs orders

Interim costs orders are made during a court case and will usually be made at a hearing after an interim application has been considered. The order usually relates to the costs incurred by the parties on that particular application. For example, if one party has failed to comply with the rules relating to the conduct of the case, and the other party has to apply to court to force compliance, the party at fault can expect to pay the cost of the application.

If the court makes no reference to costs when making the interim order, then each party will be responsible for paying her/his own costs.[1] It is, therefore, important that where a party expects a costs order to be made in her/his favour, this matter should be raised specifically with the judge during the course of the application. In this situation, the question of costs will be dealt with after the court has disposed of the main point of the application.

Types of costs orders that can be made

The types of costs orders covered here below are interim costs orders that are made during the course of a case. However, these types of orders can also be made as final costs orders at the conclusion of a case:

  • costs in any event - where an interim costs order is made in favour of a party, s/he is entitled to the costs in respect of the part of the case to which the order relates, regardless of other costs that are made during or at the end of the case
  • costs in the case - the party in whose favour a costs order is made at the end of the case (a final costs order) is entitled to the costs incurred in respect of the interim order
  • claimant's/defendant's costs in the case/application - if the party in whose favour the costs order is made is awarded costs at the end of the case (a final costs order), that party is entitled to her/his costs of the part of the case to which the order relates. If any other party is awarded costs at the end of the case, each party bears her/his own costs in respect of the part of the case to which the order relates
  • costs reserved - the court will decide that costs are to be reserved if the decision about who should pay the costs is postponed to a later date. If no later order is made, the costs will be the costs in the case (see 'costs in the case' above). A costs reserved order is commonly made when an application is adjourned to a specific date in the future, for example an adjourned possession hearing
  • no order as to costs or each party to pay her/his own costs - where the order states 'no order as to costs' each party pays her/his own costs of the part of the case to which the order relates, regardless of whatever costs order the court makes at the end of the case (final costs order).

If the order says nothing about costs, and it is the final hearing of the case, each party will bear her/his own costs. However if it is an interim hearing (during the course of the case, and before the final hearing), then no party will be entitled to claim the costs relating to that order from another party.[2] It is to be interpreted as if the judge actually stated that there be no order as to costs.

[1] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 44.13(1) and Practice Direction about costs supplementing Parts 43 to 48 of the Civil Procedure Rules, section 13.2.

[2] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 44.13(1).

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