In case a claimant triumphs in a possession claim, they are entitled to seek a costs order against the defendant.

But suppose that the claim is instead struck out, while the defendant triumphs, but not without having to go through the burden of researching and preparing their defence, traveling to and from attending court, perhaps even instructing and paying a solicitor to represent them, fuel, and so forth.

Is a defendant entitled to compensation of their own expenses, efforts, and time, in the claim which they had ultimately shown to be invalid, whether through a conventional costs order against the claimant, or through any other separate mechanism, in line with the traditional convention of the English rule when it comes to a triumphant party’s costs in legal proceedings?

If the conventional “English rule” (as it’s been called) does not apply to possession proceedings, then why are they excepted from this otherwise rather general rule?

1 Answer 1


Costs follow the event

AFAIK, this applies in all civil proceedings except small claims and (some) tribunals.

However, the defendant’s (or plaintiff’s) personal time and expenses are not recoverable. So, if the defendant spends 2 hours briefing their lawyer, the lawyer’s cost is recoverable, the defendant’s isn’t.

For example, a case requires the defendant company to spend a week in Birmingham (from London) and they send 2 employees and 3 lawyers. Assuming that was a reasonable thing to do, the lawyer’s fees, accommodation, food and transport costs are recoverable, the employee’s aren’t.

  • What does this mean “costs follow the event”? Dec 8, 2022 at 15:46
  • 2
    @Seeking answers “costs follow the event” is the standard phrase meaning that the loser pays the winner's costs. More exactly it means that the payment of costs goes in the same direction as the payment of any damages, the result or "event" of the case. Dec 8, 2022 at 18:36
  • How does this principle apply if the defendant either does part of the work themselves in order to reduce the work and costs of the lawyer, or simply represents themselves without a lawyer? In this case does the litigant in person remuneration rate of £19/hour not apply? Jan 8, 2023 at 12:03

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