Claiming Costs

Normally (though not always) if you win a case you will be awarded costs. But before the court/tribunal can order your opponent to pay you those costs the court/tribunal has to assess the precise amount which is to be paid to you. The court/tribunal will not award the full amount claimed if it considers it unreasonably high for the case and there will be specific rules about what kinds of items can be claimed. Traditionally the assessment of costs took place a few months after a case was concluded and the assessment process was like another mini-trial with each side represented by specialist costs lawyers and ending up with arguments as to who should pay the further costs of the assessment of costs process itself!

Unfortunately this still happens quite frequently, but you can normally avoid these extra costs by taking a pragmatic approach. It is tempting to try to claim for everything - the cost of a stamp for a routine letter (as well as the cost of a courier when a bundle of documents had to be delivered urgently), the cost of printer ink and paper for low volume printing on your own printer (as well as the cost of using a reprographics shop for volume printing) The £1 cost of a phone call to the court office (as well as the £1,000 court fee). The £10 cost of petrol to give a witness living locally a lift to court (as well as the air fare and hotel costs of a witness living abroad who flies in to give evidence at trial). But if you just claim for disbursements, which are the major costs, and do not try to claim for small items such as phone calls, or for your own time, a short and simple Statement of Costs can be drawn up, supported by receipts, and if it is done in this way the judge may well be prepared to carry out what is known as a summary assessment, which only takes about 10 minutes and is carried out immediately after the judge makes the order awarding costs. This means that there are no extra costs of assessing costs.


This information page is designed to be used only by clients of John Antell who have entered into an agreement for the provision of legal services. The information in it is necessarily of a general nature and is intended to be used only in conjunction with specific advice to the individual client about the individual case. This information page should not be used by, or relied on, by anyone else.

This page was lasted updated in June 2017 Disclaimer