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If your organisation is involved in a court case, you will have to pay legal fees plus disbursements/expenses.   However, depending on the outcome of the case a proportion of these costs may be recoverable from your opponent.
If you are an individual needing advice rather than a business please visit our litigation for individuals pages for more information.

Recovery of costs if you win

Other than in 'small claims' cases, the losing party in court proceedings will normally be ordered to pay costs.
Except in limited circumstances where only fixed costs are awarded, the court has full discretion to decide which party should pay costs to an opponent and how much. Factors which may be taken into account in that decision include:
•    In court proceedings the 'track' the case has been allocated to - this  depends on the value of the claim and could be small claims, fast track or multi-track;
•    the circumstances of the case, which might include: the conduct of the parties before and during the course of the proceedings (including whether it was reasonable for a party to raise, pursue or contest a particular issue), the manner in which a party has pursued or defended a claim and whether or not a party exaggerated its claim;
•    whether a party has succeeded in part or all of its case;
•    offers to settle made by either party;
•    a party's refusal to mediate or to attempt to settle the case.
•    whether the amount of costs claimed is proportionate, and has been reasonably incurred;
•    the complexity of the case, specialist knowledge involved, time spent and other facts relevant to the amount of work undertaken.
Although a successful party will normally be entitled to an award of costs, there is no guaranteed amount, and in most cases there will be a shortfall between what they owe their lawyers and the costs they can recover from the losing party.
If you have after the event legal expenses insurance or have entered into a conditional fee agreement with your lawyers, you may be able to recover any premium or success fee from your opponent or a third party.
However, payment of legal fees is not conditional on recovery of costs from your opponent or third party. You will remain liable for these costs, including for any shortfall between the costs paid by another party and your actual costs.
If an opponent or third party is ordered to meet all or some of your costs but fails to do so, you will remain liable. The court or an arbitrator has power to order a losing party to pay interest on costs. They may also order that party to pay some money up front before the final costs calculation has been made.

Payment of costs where you are unsuccessful, in whole or in part

If you are unsuccessful on the hearing of any application or at a trial, have all of part of your case struck out or you discontinue all or part of your case then you are likely to be ordered to pay a proportion of the other party's costs. Those costs may include:
•    legal fees and disbursements and expenses;
•    any success fee under a conditional fee agreement;
•    any insurance premium paid by the other party for the benefit of after the event legal expenses insurance;
•    costs arising from a litigation funding agreement with a third party funder.
If you are ordered to pay your opponent's costs you will also be liable for your own costs, in addition to any damages awarded against you.
Going to court can be expensive – even if you win. For an alternative to court action when facing a dispute please call Richard Tomlinson at Lawson-West Commercial on 0116 212 1000.