Once the judge or tribunal has given the judgment in the case, the court or other tribunal will decide who pays the costs of the case. This is heavily influenced by the court’s view as to who has won or lost and to what extent, and whether there has been a payment into court or an offer by the loser which the winner should have accepted. That decision on costs may also be affected by the conduct of one or both parties in the litigation. The court can for example order that the winner recovers his costs, or only a particular proportion of them, or only from a certain date, and so on. Once the court has decided in principle on who pays what costs, there is a further ‘detailed assessment’ where the paying party can challenge the components or individual parts of the receiving party’s bill of costs.
Unfortunately, costs ordered are usually in the order of thousands of pounds, and all too often, tens of thousands of pounds. This underlines the need to consider costs carefully at every stage of the case. It is important to ensure both than no more money is spent than absolutely necessary, and also that any head if expenditure can as far as possible be reclaimed from the other side if the litigant wins.