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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself - LawAssist

Costs

​​

    ​What ar​e costs?

    Costs are:

    • lawyers fees, and
    • the expe​nses involved in running a case, such as filing fees, fees for subpoenas, witnesses, and getting copies of records and expert reports.

    If someone wins a c​​ase, they may ask for an order that the other side pay their costs. However, it is rare for the court to make this order.

    When can the Federal Circuit Court order costs?

    The Federal Circuit Court can only order costs to be paid by one side to the other in very limited circumstances.  For example, where someone went ahead with a case when it was clearly weak and they had no chance of winning (this is called a 'frivolous or vexatious' case). For this reason, it is a good idea to get legal advice about the strength of your case before you start your case in court.

    You should also get legal advice if your employer tells you they are going to ask the Federal Circuit Court for a costs order.

    Costs may also be ordered against a party if they did something that was unreasonable (or unreasonably failed to do something) and caused the other side to incur costs. An example of this might be where one party kept unreasonably asking to adjourn (postpone) the case.

    Applying to be paid your costs  

    If you want to ask the Federal Circuit Court for orders that the employer pay your costs, you should do this at the time that the judge tells you that you have won the case. If you want to ask the judge at the hearing you should prepare an itemised list of your costs and expenses.

     You must make any application for costs within 28 days of a final order being made in your case. You should contact the Federal Circuit Court about getting your case listed before the judge again if you forgot to ask the judge about costs when they made their decision about your case.