Legal costs and their recoverability from the other side forms its own substantial area of law. What we say here is intended as nothing more than a brief summary of a few of the most basic principles and should certainly not be relied upon to assess whether you will, or are even likely to, recover your legal costs from the other side. You should contact us if you are seeking a proper assessment of the likelihood of recovering your legal costs.
The general rule is that the ‘winner’ recovers his / her legal costs for the ‘loser’ at the final determination of a case (e.g. a Court Trial or Land Registry Adjudication).
There are certain dispute resolution forums, however, where the general rule does not apply at all (e.g. County Court Small Claims).
And in those forums where the general rule does apply, there are some exceptions to the general rule so you should make every attempt not to fall within any of them (e.g. not complying with a ‘pre-action protocol’).
There are also strategic steps that can be taken to maximise your chances of recovering legal costs even if you are not entirely successful in achieving your objectives and to protect you against the risk of having to pay the other side’s legal costs.
If your case settles before its final determination, the recovery of your legal costs will depend on whether the other side agreed to pay your legal costs as part of the settlement. Persuading the other side to do so depends on a number of factors such as:
- The amount of your legal costs.
- The strength of your case.
- The way in which your case has been presented and conducted.
- The strategic steps that have been taken.
- Your determination to recover legal costs and the risks you are prepared to take to recover them.