Victorian Supreme Court costs – the party/party is over

No April Fool’s Day jokes please.

Effective 1 April 2013 the Victorian Supreme Court has a new costs regime.

The highlights:

  • The ‘party and party basis’ (by which most Supreme Court cost bills have historically been taxed) is axed.
  • Henceforth, costs orders will generally be taxed on the more generous ‘solicitor and client basis’ (that is “all costs reasonably incurred and of reasonable amount”) although that yardstick is to be renamed the ‘standard basis.’
  • Costs on an indemnity basis remain available.
  • Solicitors’ time on the standard basis will be claimable in 6 minute units at the rate of $36 + GST per unit (ie $360 + GST per hour).
  • Unless otherwise ordered, the maximum daily allowance for counsel is $5000 + GST per day for juniors and $7500 + GST per day for silks.
  • Photocopying (currently allowable at a whopping $2.30 per page) becomes discretionary but is likely to be allowed in the Costs Court at 22 cents per printed side of page.

For a more detailed explanation of the new costs regime see:

What do the changes mean?

It is probably good news for successful litigants. Any standard costs order in their favour should now translate into more coin in their pocket than was formerly likely under the more austere party and party basis.

It is correspondingly bad news for unsuccessful litigants (by which I include others such as winners who fail to beat their opponents’ Calderbank offers or Offers of Compromise).

And it’s likely business as usual for those practitioners of the dark arts of costs consulting.