Costs Follow The Event Or Costs Follow Conduct?

Published date17 May 2022
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution
Law FirmDillon Eustace
AuthorMs Rachel Turner

In the recent High Court case of Word Perfect Translation Services Limited v The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (No.2) [2022] IEHC 219, the High Court (Mr Justice Twomey) considered the obligation of the wording of section 169(1) of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 ("the Act") and its application to encourage a more efficient approach to litigation. In accordance with the Act, a court is obliged to ask, in every application for costs, have the parties conducted the case in the most cost-effective way possible. In doing so, the court can adjudicate on whether the winning party is entitled to its costs or whether the winning party or parties conducted proceedings in a manner that justifies a lesser award.


Word Perfect Translation Services Limited ("Word Perfect") brought an action against the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform ("the State") challenging the legality of a Request for Tenders by the State for the supply of Irish translation services. Word Perfect was unsuccessful in its action but argued that the State did not conduct the proceedings in the most cost-effective manner, and that Word Perfect, therefore, should not be liable for any "unnecessary" costs in the proceedings.

Word Perfect's substantive proceedings were grounded on three claims regarding a Request for Tenders by the State. The State denied the three claims raised by Word Perfect, but also raised a preliminary objection to the proceedings on the grounds of eligibility. The preliminary objection was not heard until the trial of the action. Word Perfect claimed that the State's conduct in the proceedings was inefficient as the State should have brought a motion before the trial to deal with the preliminary objection, which would have saved court time and a large amount of the expense involved with discovery and expert evidence.


The court held that it was clear from the wording of section 169(1) of the Act and case law (referring, in particular, to the recent decisions in Chubb v The Health Insurance Authority [2020] IECA 183 and Somers v Kennedy [2022] IEHC 78), that in order for a winning party to get 100% of its costs, it is no longer sufficient for that party to have been entirely successful in litigation. The party must also have conducted its case in the most cost-effective manner possible. If a party does not, then they are unlikely to get 100% of their costs.

The court held that the proceedings were not conducted in the most efficient manner...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT