Dividing Bills of Costs where multiple defendants

By on Aug 23, 2017 | 3 comments

I have a case where a claim was brought against two Defendants.  The claim succeeded against both Defendants.

The matter was subject to a Costs Management Order with the Claimant having a single approved costs budget in respect of costs concerning both Defendants (with no apportionment between work concerning one Defendant or the other).

The final costs order was simply that: “The Defendants shall pay the Claimant’s costs of the action” (ie the Defendants are jointly and severally liable for the Claimant’s costs, with no apportionment between work concerning one Defendant or the other).

What therefore possessed the Claimant’s costs draftsman to prepare the Bill of Costs such that for each relevant phase the Bill is split into three separate parts: one for “generic costs” that related to the work concerning both Defendants and two further parts that include the work specific to each Defendant?

The Bill therefore consists of 41 different parts when it only required 15.  The task of comparing the costs claimed to the approved budget has been made more time consuming than necessary, as has preparation of the Points of Dispute and any subsequent detailed assessment hearing.

True it is that PD 47 para.5.8(5) requires:

“Where the bill covers costs payable under an order or orders under which there are different paying parties the bill must be divided into parts so as to deal separately with the costs payable by each paying party.”

However, that is clearly not applicable where, as here, the costs that each of the Defendants are required to pay are identical.


  1. I suspect it was experience – in the vast majority of multiple defendant cases I see, even with joint and several orders, the Defendant’s squabble as to the % they want to pay and how they want a split bill so they can find out what they’re responsible for and what they’re not responsible for. I suspect insurers do not like J&S responsibility, especially if they feel aggrieved that the other defendant increased the costs. It’s gone as far as applications made against us to split bills where a Part 36 acceptance was made on behalf of two Defendants but “behind the curtain” they’d reached a several % agreement.


    23rd August 2017

  2. When the bill of costs has been awarded by the court to the claimant, can the amount be divided equally between the defendants?


    21st June 2019

  3. Susan,

    This will depend on the exact wording of the court order and the circumstances of the case. Nevertheless, it would often be common that both defendants are equally liable.

    Simon Gibbs

    23rd June 2019

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