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Who Pays Court Costs and Fees?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 28 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Pay Costs Court Small Claims Judgment

The usual rule in most cases is that the losing party will pay the other side’s costs of bringing the claim to court. The situation in small claims cases is modified and the costs that a losing party will pay have been deliberately restricted to limit the financial risk to the parties.

All amounts stated below are accurate as at May 2008.

“No Costs” in the Small Claims Court

It is often said that there is a “no costs” rule in the small claims court. However, this does not mean that a victorious party cannot recover any costs incurred in a small claims case. Part 27 of the Civil Procedure Rules sets out the maximum costs which a judge can order a party to pay. Whether or not the judge will order a party to pay costs is ultimately a matter for him.

The costs awarded may depend on a number of factors including the relative financial status of the parties and their behaviour before and during court proceedings. If any costs awarded by the judge do not cover the expenses actually incurred, the party will have to pay them out of their own pocket.

Legal Costs and Fees

The victorious party can recover the following legal costs and fees:
  • The costs of issuing the claim and any court fees which have been paid, such as the allocation questionnaire fee.
  • If the case includes a claim for an injunction or specific performance - an amount for legal advice and assistance to a maximum of £260.
  • If a small claims case proceeds to an appeal, the appeal court may summarily assess the costs of the appeal – the costs of an appeal are not subject to the usual small claims limitations.
  • Any order for costs made before the claim was allocated to the small claims court.

Witness Costs

The following expenses incurred by a party or witness may be recovered:
  • Travel expenses of witnesses or the party, including the costs of overnight accommodation if needed. No limit is placed on these costs.
  • An amount for loss of earnings incurred by a witness or party due to attending the hearing, limited to £50 per day per person.

Expert Costs

If the court has given permission in advance for a party to use expert evidence a maximum of £200 per expert may be recovered from the losing party to cover the expert’s fees.

Unreasonable Costs

The rules on small claims costs give the judge a power to make a punitive costs order if he thinks that a party has behaved unreasonably. If the judge is minded to make such an order he may take into account all the costs that a party has incurred in either bringing or defending the claim before deciding how much the other side should pay in respect of these.

Exceptions to the Small Claims Costs Rules

Where the parties consented to a claim being allocated to the small claims track, although its financial value exceeded £5000, the rules on costs are different. The judge will be able to make the same order for costs as if the claim had been dealt with on the fast track (broadly speaking this covers claims with a financial value of between £5000 and £15,000). While these costs are still limited they are substantially more than could be awarded on the small claims track.

If a possession claim has been allocated to the small claims track after the consent of the parties, the judge may again award costs as if the claim was on the fast track.

How Costs are Paid

If the claimant wins the case, any costs that the defendant is ordered to pay are likely to be added to the total judgment debt to be paid at the same rate. If the defendant wins, the court will decide when and at what rate the claimant should pay costs.

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You are being sued n your name because you were involved in the accident. This is normal. You should immediately notify your insurer who will ( providing they have agreed to indemnify you) make arrangements to defend the action or agree a oayment
Claim man - 28-Aug-17 @ 11:43 AM
Hi I am being taken to the small claims court after a accident..my insurance company wouldn't pay the guy anything because there was no damage to my vehicle...cut a long story short he is suing me personally..I can't afford a solicitor have no assests at all I am a full time carer for my parents so on benefits .I have nothing so how can I pay this guy very worried please please advise.
Pooley - 12-Jun-17 @ 6:57 PM
Buzz - Your Question:
Why does the web page entitled "Who Pays Court Costs and Fees?" (the most popular page, apparently), and many other pages continually refer to the limit being £5,000, not £10,000? I am currently making a claim for well over £5,000 and after the fees (£410 for MCOL and £335 for the court hearing + interest @8% from the date of the incident) it actually comes to in excess of £10,000.Am I missing something? The site says it was updated three weeks ago.

Our Response:
As stated in the article; 'All amounts stated below are accurate as at May 2008'. We will ensure the information is updated soon.
AboutSmallClaims - 27-Apr-17 @ 11:19 AM
Why does the web page entitled "Who Pays Court Costs and Fees?" (the most popular page, apparently), and many other pages continually refer to the limit being £5,000, not £10,000? I am currently making a claim for well over £5,000 and after the fees (£410 for MCOL and £335 for the court hearing + interest @8% from the date of the incident) it actually comes to in excess of £10,000. Am I missing something? The site says it was updated three weeks ago.
Buzz - 26-Apr-17 @ 1:52 PM
Im having issues with perfect homes. I've been paying for two items for two years, four months. I owe £550 in total. Would they take me to court for that amount?
Lyn - 1-Apr-17 @ 3:31 PM
I took my landlord to small claims court as they refused to pay back my deposit and that they never protected my deposit for 6 years. When I threatened with small claims court, they posted me a cheque for the deposit, I refused the cheque as I wanted to pursue court action . They then protected my deposit a month after I had ended my tenancy and vacated the property. When I attended court, the judge told me that I applied to late to claim for my deposit as I had already ended my tenancy and as I refused the cheque, which was the landlord offering a good will gesture doing so and that he admitted to not protecting my deposit, I lost my case. How it that fair, I did nothing wrong but he broke the law for6 years. Can anyone tell me if the judges decision was correct?
Sidmollie02 - 20-Feb-17 @ 9:16 PM
@Walker21111 - that's why people prefer to settle out of, or prior to court; to avoid the inflated court costs! But I suppose there has to be some deterrent for those who know they are guilty, but prefer to take the chance of going to court on the slim chance they will win. Rich.
RichNot - 9-Feb-17 @ 12:06 PM
So could anyone give me some advice, so I was taken to the small claims court for £380 and I accepted that I was owe this money to my factoring company but there's expenses of £329.94 plus 8% so it's nearly doubled,is this correct surly not? This is in Scotland so I know the laws are slightly different but is there a limit to expenses in the small claims court?
Walker21111 - 8-Feb-17 @ 4:37 PM
I am being threatened with the Small Claims Court in the sum of £3,000 by my Father-in-law for a gift he made to clear debts jointly owned by his son and me after we split and he was not contributing to agreed costs. As he is responsible for 50% of the debt, can I ask for his son to be joined to the claim?If so, at what stage is this done?
Sasasy - 20-Jan-17 @ 3:50 PM
Tedtoot1922 - Your Question:
Hi I'm owed £4000 from kindly helping a friend needing urgent house repairs. I was promised this back almost a year ago. And not received any payment. I have asked for payments in installments even offering to accept £50 a monthIf I take out CC J will he be liable for my court costs etc as I myself am now struggling financially? Thank you I know I can issue proceedings myself but require legal advice with forms etc

Our Response:
As specified in the article, the costs awarded may depend on a number of factors including the relative financial status of the parties and their behaviour before and during court proceedings. If any costs awarded by the judge do not cover the expenses actually incurred, the party will have to pay them out of their own pocket. Therefore, it is always worth making sure you have a strong case i.e your friend is financially solvent and you have proof to say your friend borrowed the money and was intending to pay it back.
AboutSmallClaims - 13-Jan-17 @ 11:22 AM
Hi I'm owed £4000 from kindly helping a friend needing urgent house repairs. I was promised this back almost a year ago. And not received any payment. I have asked for payments in installments even offering to accept £50 a month If I take out CC J will he be liable for my court costs etc as I myself am now struggling financially? Thank you I know I can issue proceedings myself but require legal advice with forms etc
Tedtoot1922 - 12-Jan-17 @ 11:28 AM
3 months ago I bought a van from a dealer on a monday with 12 months mot and on the following friday was told its mot was bogus and advised by a local garage it was dangerous to drive. I called the garage I bought it from and told them I wanted my money back and why. He asked me to drive it back but I explained its mot was false and was advertised the wishbone was worn out and was dangerous to drive so they came to collect it. Now they're sueing me for £1040 for vehicle collection. Where do I stand please.
scottp - 9-Dec-16 @ 7:55 PM
3 months ago Ibought a van on a monday with 12 months mot and on the riday was advised by a local garage it was dangerous to drive and it had a bent mot. I called the garage I bought it from and told them I wanted my money back and why. He asked me to drive it back but I explained its mot was false and was advisedthe wishbone was worn out and was dangerous to drive so they came to collect it. Now they're sueing me for £1040 for vehicle collection. Where do I stand please.
scottp - 9-Dec-16 @ 7:52 PM
Hi I will be very thankful, if someone can advise me. I am going through a court case with my landlady after vacating the property in a great condition. My deposit currently holding my deposit money until the decision has made. Landlady claimed for 3000 in her claim. I have a Mediation appointment soon. My question is, if I loose the case my deposit will be considered as part of the loss put forward by claimant or not ? I will be very thankful if someone can provide me information on this.
Khalil - 6-Dec-16 @ 11:20 PM
@Stella - direct bank transfer online would work. Or just tell them the check is at the Post Office!
PC99 - 12-Sep-16 @ 11:22 AM
Hi my husband was a claimant in a case and has to pay costs to the defendant of £500, he sent it by cheque Royal Mail signed for and they have not picked it up from the post office, they have issued a money claim online for the payment saying it hasn't been made what can we do? What is an acceptable method of payment, trying to make a payment? Thank you
Stella - 11-Sep-16 @ 9:26 AM
I'm likely to have to pay £250 to go in front of a judge to try and stay a CCJ that is statute barred, however couldn't respond in time so became a default judgement. Am I likely to be able to take the claimant (enforcement agency) to small claims court for those costs if the decision is made in my favour?
Franco66 - 19-Aug-16 @ 11:35 PM
@Hunnibear73 - situations such as this is why anyone who goes guarantor should beware. Unfortunately you/your daughter was the loser in this case and therefore subject to pay the case winner's court fees. The judge only agreed that £300 was the amount you should pay, so the judge still came down on the side of the landlord. Thankfully you didn't have to pay the £800 and court fees on top (which could have easily have been the case).
RichY - 8-Aug-16 @ 12:05 PM
I'm going to make a very long story short. I was guarantor for my daughter when she rented her last home. Basically after leaving her landlord said we owed him £800 for leaving the place in a bad condition, which was a load of lies as myself and family scrubbed from top to bottom. Anyway he took us to small claims. The judge said that he was asking to much and only awarded him a fraction of what he claimed around £300. I had offered to pay around £100 previously which he said no to. My question is, that I was right not to pay the £800 he asked for as the judge did sort of agree with me, and as he was only awarded part of his claim, why do I have to pay him back for his court costs, his time of work and his witnesses time of work ( the witness was not even needed). I feel that I was doomed either way. I now end up having to pay nearly £600.
Hunnibear73 - 7-Aug-16 @ 12:22 PM
My neighbour might take me to court to get a court order to get access to my land, if he wins his case who pays the legal fees?
johnboy - 3-Jul-16 @ 9:18 PM
My friend found out he had a CCJ, and went to court to have it removed as there had been no contact from a collection company with regards to parking on private land (he had moved house, and never received anything whilst he was at his previous address). The judge ruled in his favour and that the company had never informed him. Can he recover the £270 it cost him to take this to court to have the CCJ removed?
Gimbin - 7-Jun-16 @ 2:32 PM
Hi My landlord did not protect my deposit, did not do check in or check out did not provide a Gas Safety Cert or smoke alarms that worked. The house was also on the market where I advised during tenancy it would be removed for the duration. As soon as I moved in texts started asking me to do viewings 12 in total which resulted in the house sale, I asked the landlord to protect my deposit twice and emailed over where to put it (DPS). I have now gone through small claims but having taken no advice the landlord has responded with an acknowledgement of service she has emailed to advise that she would be claiming for an external wire sky removed, and that I left tenancy early, although she advised this was fine I have proof of all of the above. My question is I haven't claimed enough just the bond and 2 x rent and I have not claimed for inconvenience, would the judge award more than what I have claimed if I provided all information? I am confused how she is trying to defend this as she is unable to provide any of the above?
munkies - 31-May-16 @ 4:31 PM
Rachel1969 - Your Question:
I am being taken to court and having a injuntion against me I worked for a care company and they beleive I am poaching staff if I do go to court will I have to make any payments please help does anybody know ?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot predict what a court may decide.
AboutSmallClaims - 26-Apr-16 @ 12:14 PM
i am being taken to court and having a injuntion against me i worked for a care company and they beleive i am poaching staff if i do go to court will i have to make any payments please help does anybody know ?
Rachel1969 - 25-Apr-16 @ 7:49 PM
Hi, I got a Contractual Breach Charge (parking fine) for not showing a parking permit in a private car park (free to park) I I appealed the decision, but was told by POPLA that because i agree i did park there, regardless of the circumstances they can't overturn the decision. Ifi don't pay and i get taken to court, would it just go to small claims court (£100) If so do you know how much i would have to pay in court costs etc IF i lost the case? Desperate for help and not much time left..
Confusedbunny - 26-Mar-16 @ 5:57 PM
I have just lost a court case in the small claims court for a refund for unfinished dental implant work that was the wrong prescription and not fit for purposes. The judge failed to understand the dental consultants report and the NHS paid for recovery treatment as it affected my digestive system. (could not eat Solid food) The defendant is coming after me for there cost. I am in receipt of PPI and ESA and have mental health problems. I was covered for my court cost. As I own no property and only have benefits. Can the defendent do this. I have been told to apply for a debt relief order. Can the defendent touch my benefits. I am separated with one child
rabbit - 19-Jan-16 @ 9:29 PM
I started a small claims track against someone that owed me £400.00 in court the judge pulled my case apart whilst being very leanient with the other side, as an example I had an email confirming the money was owed and the judge would not accept it as it did not have a signature, not sure how you sign emails? Whilst the other side produced a typed letter with out my name or address or signature on it but that seemed ok?There are many more points that the case was not fair, but at the end of the case the judge ruled against me and charged me £5000.00 cost for the other side. I argued that there are no costs to a small claims track so she knocked the bill down to £3500.00 and gave me 14 days to pay even though the judge knew I was on sickness benefit. All the websites say 'no costs' and 'defend yourself' I think what has happened is criminal. I tried to mediate with the other side 5 times and even reduced the amount I was claiming to get a resolution, when I said to the judge about them avoiding mediation(they call it pre court protocol) she did not care, she said they don't have to mediate if they think they are right. All the websites say you will be ok if conduct good pre court protocol, RUBBISH! The other side completely purgured themselves in court and won, really fed up and now have no trust in the justice system.
Alex - 22-Dec-15 @ 7:09 PM
I started a small claims track against someone that owed me £400.00 in court the judge pulled my case apart whilst being very leanient with the other side, as an example I had an email confirming the money was owed and the judge would not accept it as it did not have a signature, not sure how you sign emails? Whilst the other side produced a typed letter with out my name or address or signature on it but that seemed ok?There are many more points that the case was not fair, but at the end of the case the judge ruled against me and charged me £5000.00 cost for the other side. I argued that there are no costs to a small claims track so she knocked the bill down to £3500.00 and gave me 14 days to pay even though the judge knew I was on sickness benefit. All the websites say 'no costs' and 'defend yourself' I think what has happened is criminal. I tried to mediate with the other side 5 times and even reduced the amount I was claiming to get a resolution, when I said to the judge about them avoiding mediation(they call it pre court protocol) she did not care, she said they don't have to mediate if they think they are right. All the websites say you will be ok if conduct good pre court protocol, RUBBISH! The other side completely purgured themselves in court and won, really fed up and now have no trust in the justice system.
Alex - 21-Dec-15 @ 8:47 AM
I started a small claims track against someone that owed me £400.00 in court the judge pulled my case apart whilst being very leanient with the other side, as an example I had an email confirming the money was owed and the judge would not accept it as it did not have a signature, not sure how you sign emails? Whilst the other side produced a typed letter with out my name or address or signature on it but that seemed ok?There are many more points that the case was not fair, but at the end of the case the judge ruled against me and charged me £5000.00 cost for the other side. I argued that there are no costs to a small claims track so she knocked the bill down to £3500.00 and gave me 14 days to pay even though the judge knew I was on sickness benefit. All the websites say 'no costs' and 'defend yourself' I think what has happened is criminal. I tried to mediate with the other side 5 times and even reduced the amount I was claiming to get a resolution, when I said to the judge about them avoiding mediation(they call it pre court protocol) she did not care, she said they don't have to mediate if they think they are right. All the websites say you will be ok if conduct good pre court protocol, RUBBISH! The other side completely purgured themselves in court and won, really fed up and now have no trust in the justice system.
Alex - 21-Dec-15 @ 12:41 AM
Hi i am not sure if this thread is still running but today I got a claim form through the post. i made a booking to stay on the isle of wight for four days and but my daughter was ill she is 9 months she had contracted chicken pox. so i went online to cancel which i then realised it was the full 265 i had to pay which i did not realise when booking, i have made many through them and cancelled and never incurred charges......my problem is i dont see why i should pay the full 265 as i never went or recieved a service im wondering if you could help or suggest anything i can do as i never dealt with a ccj thanks
daniezells - 13-Nov-15 @ 6:49 PM
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