If the matter goes to court, does the losing party pay the winner’s court costs?
Court cases can be time consuming and expensive. At the conclusion of a case, the losing party is often ordered to pay the costs of the other party. However, the costs ordered by the court are generally less than the total amount spent by the winning party. These are referred to as “ordinary” costs.
Award of costs depends on a number of factors including whether such an order is sought, the amount of the costs incurred, the complexity of the matter and the discretion of the judge. In some cases, costs awarded may be for the entire amount spent by the winning party. These are referred to as “indemnity” costs.
Indemnity costs will generally only be awarded in cases of improper conduct by the losing party, such as cases commenced or continued without reasonable prospects of success and cases involving an abuse of process.
After an order for costs is made, a specialist costs assessment lawyer may determine the amount. Costs assessors are lawyers who act independently to the parties in a dispute. They review costs incurred and the way a case was handled through the court process to determine the proper amount of costs based on an order for costs issued by the court.
The costs assessment process assures the parties that the final amount of costs payable has been independently verified, and the successful party is not improperly claiming an amount for costs incurred.