Costs Orders

In some criminal cases, a costs order will be made.  A costs order is a ruling requiring that one party has to pay some or all of the expenses of the other party. A costs order must provide details of the costs payable.

When Will A Costs Order Be Made?

In criminal matters, a costs order may be made at any of the following six stages of the court proceedings:

  • when the proceedings commence;
  • after a determination has been made but before the hearing is completed;
  • when the trial is adjourned or is abandoned;
  • at the hearing or after the hearing pending appeal;
  • on appeal.

Types Of Costs Orders

Different types of costs orders can be made depending on the circumstances.

Party/Party costs

A Party/Party Costs Order is the most common type of costs order that a court will make. It is an order that requires one party to pay the expenses of the other party. Party/party costs orders are designed to compensate one party for their legal expenditure.

Solicitor/Client Costs

These are the costs that a person pays their lawyer. Fees for lawyers are required regardless of the outcome of your case. Generally lawyers bill clients weekly or monthly depending on what costs agreement you signed.

Indemnity Costs

An indemnity costs order is an order that one party should pay the majority of the costs to compensate the other party for their expenditure involved in the litigation. This type of costs order will be made in circumstances where one party started the proceedings with no real chance of winning or where one party has conducted itself in a way that unnecessarily prolonged the proceedings. In situations where an indemnity costs order is made, the losing party will be required to pay 100% of the other party’s expenditure.

Costs After The Proceeding

If a party is successful in getting their costs awarded after the proceeding has concluded, the other party is required to pay them. The party the costs order has been made against can apply to the Supreme Court to have the costs reassessed.

If you require legal advice about costs orders or any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Financial Impact Of A Costs Order

A costs order is a court judgement enforceable under the Fines Act 1996 (NSW). If you’re ordered to pay the other party’s costs (which may be a large amount) and you can’t pay or reach an agreement with the other party, they can start bankruptcy proceedings against you. If bankruptcy proceedings are started against you then any assets that you have could be liquidated to pay the debt and there could be other consequences.

If you require any information on costs orders or any other legal matter, call us on 1300 038 223 or send us an email.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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