District Court Rules

ORDER 53

COSTS

1 — GENERAL

1 Costs in general to be in the discretion of Court

1. (1) Save as otherwise provided by statute or by these Rules, the granting or withholding of the costs of any party to civil proceedings or other proceedings in the Court in which by law the Court may award costs are in the discretion of the Court.

(2) Notwithstanding sub-rule (1), the Court

(i) in considering the awarding of the costs in proceedings in which the parties have been invited by the Court to consider mediation as a means of attempting to resolve the dispute the subject of the proceedings in accordance with section 16(1) of the Mediation Act, 2017, may, where it considers it just, have regard to the matters set out in section 21 of that Act,

(ii) in considering the awarding of the costs in proceedings may, where it considers it just, have regard to the refusal or failure without good reason of any party to participate in another ADR process referred to in Order 49B, rule 1, where an order has been made in the proceedings under Order 49B, rule 7.

[SI 9/18]

2 Scales of costs

2. (1) Save as otherwise provided, the costs specified in each scale in the Schedule of Costs are the only lawful costs.

(2) The Court may, where appropriate in the special circumstances of a case, to be specified by the Court, award an amount for costs and/or counsel’s fees in excess of the amount provided in the Schedule of Costs.

(3) The costs in the Schedule of Costs are in every instance exclusive of and in addition to any sum allowed as recovery of value-added tax and all actual and necessary outlay as is allowed.

(4) The Schedule of Costs must be revised no less frequently than once every three years.

(5) In any case where the Court is of the opinion that there is no appropriate scale of costs provided, it may measure the costs.

(6) In this rule:

‘actual and necessary outlay’ must include a sum for miscellaneous outlays set out under the heading ‘Schedule of Outlays’ in the Schedule of Costs to include postage, photocopying, registered post, fax and sundries and the Schedule of Costs must also be read accordingly.

[SI 17/14]

3 Information and documents in support of application for costs

3. (1) Where a party intends to apply for costs otherwise than in accordance with the Schedule of Costs, that party must have available in Court any information or document which establishes the special circumstances in the case which to support such an application.

(2) Where a party applies for an item of cost not provided for in the Schedule of Costs to be allowed, that party must have available in Court any information or document which establishes that the item of cost was necessary or reasonable to be incurred, and documents vouching the cost (if already incurred or paid) or providing an estimate of such cost.

(3) Where a party applies for the costs of a civil proceeding, that party must have available in Court information or documents sufficient to confirm the particular pre-hearing steps taken or applications made in the proceeding (including particulars, discovery, applications for judgment on affidavit or judgment in default and any case management hearing) so as to enable the proper amount of costs to be determined.

[SI 17/14]

4 Witnesses’ expenses

4. The Court has discretion to allow or to refuse to allow the expenses (or any part thereof) of any witness (including a claimant or respondent) and where allowed, the amount of such expenses (or part thereof) may be measured by the Court.

[SI 17/14]

5 Where no solicitor retained

5. No costs other than actual and necessary outlay and witnesses expenses if awarded may be allowed or awarded to a party who conducts his or her own case.

[SI 17/14]

6 Where respondent not professionally represented

6. Where the claimant is successful and the respondent has not been professionally represented at the hearing, the costs must be in the appropriate scale for undefended cases, unless the Court, on application made to it at the hearing, directs that the scale for defended cases is to apply.

[SI 17/14]

7 Costs of adjournment

7. The Court may allow the costs and expenses of any adjournment of the hearing or further hearing of any civil proceedings and may order that such costs be added to or deducted from the costs allowed to either party on the final determination of the proceedings, or may if it thinks it reasonable to do so, make a separate order for their payment.

[SI 17/14]

8 Power to strike out with costs claims where no jurisdiction

8. (1) Where civil proceedings are brought in the Court or in a Court district or Court area which the Court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine, the Court must, as soon as such want of jurisdiction becomes apparent, order the proceedings to be struck out.

(2) Where the court strikes out proceedings in accordance with sub-rule (1), it may, if it thinks proper, make an order awarding the respondent such costs as the Court could have awarded if it had jurisdiction to try and determine the proceedings and either the claimant did not appear or appeared and failed to prove his or her claim.

Note: See Courts of Justice Act, 1936 (No 48 of 1936), section 60

[SI 17/14]

9 Costs of question or part of proceeding

9. (1) The Court may make an order for costs in relation to a particular question in or a particular part of a civil proceeding.

(2) If the Court makes an order under sub-rule (1), the Court must by order fix the amount of the total costs of the proceeding which is attributable to the particular question in or the particular part of the proceeding.

[SI 17/14]

10 Extension or abridgement of time

10. If a party applies for an extension or abridgement of any time fixed by these Rules or by any order fixing, extending or abridging time, that party must, unless the Court otherwise orders, pay the costs of and occasioned by the application.

[SI 17/14]

11 Discontinuance or withdrawal

11. (1) Unless the Court otherwise orders, a party who discontinues or withdraws part of a proceeding, counterclaim or claim by third party notice must pay the costs of the party to whom the discontinuance or withdrawal relates to the time of the discontinuance or withdrawal.

(2) sub-rule (1) does not apply to small claims proceedings.

[SI 17/14]

12 Lodgment or tender offer

12. If a lodgment or tender offer is served and the lodgment or tender offer has not been accepted at the time a final order is made on the claim that relates to the lodgment, tender offer or offer of compromise, liability for costs must be determined in accordance with Order 45.

[SI 17/14]

13 Scale fees

13. Where counsel is allowed, the scales of counsel’s fees in the Schedule of Costs apply, provided that in any proceedings not covered by these scales the fees must be determined by the Court having regard to the scales and to the amount involved in the case.

[SI 17/14]

14 Application of scales

14. (1) In fixing costs for work done in a civil proceeding the appropriate scales must be determined as follows—

(a) as between party and party, the amount recovered or the value of the property in dispute regulates the scale of the claimant’s costs, and the amount sought to be recovered or the value of the property in dispute regulates the scale of the respondent’s costs; and

(b) as between solicitor and client, unless the Court otherwise orders, the amount sued for, or the value of the property in dispute, regulates the scale without reference to the result;

(c) where a counterclaim is made the scale on which the costs of the parties are to be fixed or taxed must be determined as follows—

(i) if the claimant is successful on both claim and counterclaim, by the amount which the claimant recovers on the claim, unless the amount of the respondent’s counterclaim is the larger, in which case the costs incurred subsequently to the delivery of the counterclaim must be determined by the amount of that counterclaim;

(ii) if the respondent is successful on both claim and counterclaim, by the amount which the respondent recovers on the counterclaim, or the amount of the claimant’s claim, whichever is the larger;

(iii) if both parties are successful, by the amounts which they recover on their respective claims; and if both claims fail, by the amount claimed by the opposite party;

(d) in a proceeding or matter for which no provision has been specifically made in the Schedule of Costs, the Court may direct that a scale of costs specified by the Court applies;

(e) despite anything in these Rules, if in a proceeding or matter the Court considers that the application of the rules in this Order which determine that a particular scale of costs applies would be inappropriate or unjust, the Court may, either at the hearing, or within a reasonable time after the hearing, fix the costs.

(2) For the purposes of sub-rule (1)(a) the amount recovered is—

(a) the amount of the order in the claimant’s favour including any amount for interest or damages in the nature of interest; and

(b) any interest or damages in respect of the amount awarded by the Court under any enactment—

but does not include any amount recovered by or awarded to the claimant for interest or damages in the nature of interest relating to the period after the day the payment into Court was made or the offer of compromise was served.

[SI 17/14]

15 Costs to be fixed at hearing where possible

15. The Court may fix the costs of any claim notice or application at the hearing at which the claim notice or application is heard and determined, or may adjourn determination of such costs for such time as to the Court seems just.

[SI 17/14]

16 Time for costs order and payment

16. (1) The Court may in any proceeding exercise its power and discretion as to costs at any stage of the proceeding or after the conclusion of the proceeding.

(2) Costs which a party is required to pay under any of these Rules or an order of the Court must, unless the Court otherwise orders, be paid forthwith.

(3) If the Court makes an interlocutory order for costs, the Court may then or thereafter order that if the party liable to pay the costs fails to do so—

(a) if that party is the claimant, that the proceeding be stayed or dismissed;

(b) if that party is a respondent, that the respondent’s defence is to be struck out.

(4) In sub-rule (3)

‘respondent’ includes any person against whom a claim is made in a proceeding;

‘claimant’ includes any person who makes a claim in a proceeding.

[SI 17/14]

17 Proceeding or counterclaim dismissed

17. (1) A proceeding that is or stands dismissed by or under an order of the Court or these Rules must, unless the Court otherwise orders, be taken to be a proceeding that is dismissed with costs.

(2) sub-rule (1), with any necessary modification, applies to a counterclaim and to a claim by third party notice as if the counterclaim or third party claim were a claim notice.

[SI 17/14]

18 Amendment

18. If a pleading is amended (whether with or without permission) the costs of and occasioned by the amendment and the costs of any application for permission to make the amendment are the parties’ costs in the proceeding, unless the Court otherwise orders.

[SI 17/14]

19 Non-admission of fact or document

19. If a party serves a notice—

(a) under Order 45D, rule 3, disputing a fact, and afterwards that fact is proved in the proceeding;

(b) under Order 45D, rule 5, disputing the authenticity of a document, and afterwards the authenticity of that document is proved in the proceeding—

that party must pay the costs of proof, unless the Court otherwise orders.

[SI 17/14]

20 Costs reserved

20. If by order of the Court the costs of any interlocutory or other application, or of any step in a proceeding, are reserved, the reserved costs are the parties’ costs in the proceeding, unless the Court otherwise orders.

[SI 17/14]

21 Trustee or mortgagee

21. A party who sues or is sued as trustee or mortgagee must, unless the Court otherwise orders, be entitled to the costs of the proceeding out of the fund held by the trustee or out of the mortgaged property in so far as the costs are not paid by any other person.

[SI 17/14]

22 Costs in hire purchase claims

22. Proceedings by the owner of a chattel against the hirer of the chattel under a hire-purchase agreement for the recovery or return of the chattel must, for the purpose of the measurement of the costs, be deemed to be an action in contract in which the amount sued for is the amount of the instalments due and unpaid under the agreement at the date of commencement of the proceedings.

[SI 17/14]

23 Costs in claims for wrongful detention

23. In claims for wrongful detention brought by virtue of section 33(3) of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1961, the costs awarded must be on the tort scale according to the value of the goods as determined by the Court.

[SI 17/14]

24 Costs in claims to which the Attorney General or a Minister is a party

24. The scales of costs in the Schedule of Costs apply to proceedings to which the Attorney General or any Minister of the Government or any Minister of State or any Government Department is a party.

[SI 17/14]

25 Costs in consent proceedings

25. Solicitors’ costs, where allowed, in consent proceedings to which section 4(c) of the Courts Act 1991 and Order 40, rule 7 relate, must be in accordance with the provisions of item No. 10 in the Schedule of Costs.

[SI 17/14]

26 Costs in proceedings transferred from the High Court or the Circuit Court

26. Solicitors’ costs, where allowed, in civil proceedings remitted or transferred from the High Court or the Circuit Court and to which Order 40, rule 8 relates, must be in accordance with the provisions of item No. 11 in the Schedule of Costs.

[SI 17/14]

27 Value Added Tax

27. There must be added to the costs and, where relevant, counsel’s fees, awarded in any civil proceeding any sum payable by way of value-added tax on the costs by the party to whom they are awarded where, and only where, that party establishes that the sum payable by way of value-added tax is not otherwise recoverable.

[SI 17/14]

3 — COUNSEL’S FEES

28 Not allowed where sum does not exceed €2,000

28. (1) Subject to rule 2(2), in any award of costs in any civil proceedings in the Court a fee for counsel may not be included—

(a) in any action in contract, breach of contract, tort or in claims for damages unconnected with contract, where the amount recovered by the claimant or, where the claim was dismissed, the amount claimed against the respondent does not exceed €2,000, and

(b) in any landlord and tenant proceedings for overholding or non-payment of rent, where the annual rent does not exceed €2,000.

[SI 17/14]

29 Court to certify for counsel

29. In the award of costs in any civil proceedings in the Court to which rule 28 does not apply, a fee for counsel may not be included unless the Court certifies that, in its opinion, the employment of counsel was necessary for the attainment of justice or for enforcing or defending the rights of the party concerned.

[SI 17/14]

30 No separate counsel’s fee for barrister employed on a full-time basis

30. Where a barrister who acts as advocate for a party in any civil proceedings in the Court to which rule 28 does not apply is employed on a full-time or exclusive basis by the party’s solicitor or by the party, a fee for counsel may not be included in the party’s costs in addition to any solicitor’s scale fee.

[SI 17/14]

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