Monday, 16 October 2017

Basic principles to be followed by court while imposing costs on parties

The English civil procedure rules provide that a court in deciding what order, if any, to make in exercising its discretion about costs should have regard to the following circumstances: (a) the conduct of all the parties;
(b) whether a party has succeeded on part of his case, even if he has not been wholly successful; and (c) any payment made into court or admissible offer to settle made by a party which is drawn to the courts attention. `Conduct of the parties' that should be taken note by the court includes : (a) conduct before, as well as during, the proceedings and in particular the extent to which the parties followed the relevant pre-action protocol; (b) whether it was reasonable for a party to raise, pursue or contest a particular allegation or issue; (c) the manner in which a party has pursued or defended his case or a particular allegation or issue; and (d) whether a claimant who has succeeded in his claim, in whole or in part, exaggerated his claim. Similar provisions, with appropriate modifications may enable proper and more realistic costs being awarded. As Section 35 of the Code does not impose any ceiling the desired object can be achieved by the following : (i) courts levying costs, following the result, in all cases (non-levy of costs should be supported by reasons); and (ii) appropriate amendment to Civil Rules of Practice relating to taxation of costs, to make it more realistic in commercial litigation.
Supreme Court of India
Vinod Seth vs Devinder Bajaj & Anr on 5 July, 2010
Bench: R.V. Raveendran, R.M. Lodha
Citation:2010(8) SCC1
Read full judgment here: Click here
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