25 July 2022


Submitted by SchoemanLaw Inc

By Robyn Shepherd


Once a judgment has been handed down, a cost order is usually award upon the courts discretion. Furthermore, the court may chose to award only partial costs or dismiss the application entirely.  

The court will set a tariff of the costs awarded to the successful party. The successful party will be responsible to prepare a bill of costs which the taxing master taxes in accordance with the applicable  tariff. 

The Types Of Costs That A Court Can Award Are: 

Party and party costs which are incurred by instituting an action or application and defending the same. These are specific to the matter in court and only include costs, charges and expenses necessary during proceedings. Party and party costs do not make provision for any costs incurred before a summons or notice of motion are issued, or consultations between the client and the attorney on record. These costs are subject to court tariffs.  

Attorney and own client costs are costs that an attorney is entitled to recover for professional fees and disbursements incurred on behalf of the client wherein the attorney was mandated. In this instance, the taxing master must regulate the reasonableness of the charges on an attorney and client scale. In the case of Coetzee v Taxing Master, South Gaugteng High Court and Another (2010/ 14197) [2012] ZAGPJHC 175; 2013 (1) SA 74 (GSJ) (19 September 2012), the Court held that "the payment by a client to the client's own attorney is not aimed at a full indemnity, but rather is aimed at a payment of a reasonable recompense for services rendered."1 

Costs de bonis propriis are awarded only in reasonably severe cases, such as cases of dishonesty, wilfulness or negligence to a serious degree. The Constitutional Court in SA Liquor Traders' Association and others v Chairperson, Gauteng Liquor Board and others 2009 (1) SA 565 (CC) held that "An order of costs de bonis propriis is made against attorneys where a court is satisfied that there has been negligence in a serious degree which warrants an order of costs being made as a mark of the court's displeasure. An attorney is an officer of the court and owes a court an appropriate level of professionalism and courtesy."2 

Interest is payable on costs from the date of the taxing master's allowance of the taxed bill of costs and are calculated at the prescribed legal rate of interest.  

Where you find yourself as a party to a litigious process, it is wise to ensure that you know the options available when requesting a cost order from the court and the consequences thereof. Contact an attorney at SchoemanLaw for assistance!

Robyn Shepherd | SchoemanLaw Inc.
Attorney - Specialist Dispute Resolution

SchoemanLaw Inc

SchoemanLaw Inc Attorneys, Conveyancers and Notaries Public is a boutique law firm offering its clients access to high quality online legal documents and agreements, together with a wide range of legal services. The firm has an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset that distinguishes it from other law firms. We apply our first-hand understanding of the challenges facing entrepreneurs (regardless of their business size) to develop proven, practical solutions incorporating legal compliance, risk aversion and business sense. We achieve this by offering clients tailored, yet holistic support comprising of legal gap analysis, the design of tailored legal solutions and the practical implementation thereof through training and automation. With your personal interests in mind, our ultimate aim is to implement measures that protect the results of your hard work as effectively as possible.