Taxation is a process whereby the Court considers a bill of costs that is filed to the court for assessment. The bill of costs may be in respect of costs to be paid by a client to his or her solicitor (i.e. Solicitor-and-Client costs), or in respect of costs ordered by the court to be paid by one party to another party (i.e. Party-and-Party costs). Each disputed item in the bill of costs is determined by the Taxing Master after hearing the parties’ objections and submissions.
The amount of costs allowed is at the Taxing Master’s discretion, subject to any order of court. In exercising this discretion, the Taxing Master will have regard to all relevant circumstances, in particular:
(a) the complexity of the cause or matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;(b) the skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required of, and the time and labour expended by the solicitor;(c) the number and importance of the documents (however brief) prepared or perused;(d) the place and circumstances in which the business concerned was transacted;(e) the urgency and importance of the cause or matter to the client; and(f) where money or property is involved, the amount of money or the value of the property in question.
You may draw up and file a bill of costs to Court for taxation yourself or engage a lawyer to assist you in doing so. Sample formats of a bill of costs can be found as below:
For Contentious Matters – Trials https://www.supremecourt.gov.sg/data/doc/ManagePage/98/ePD2010/Appendix_C1.pdf
For Contentious Matters – Other than trialshttp://www.supremecourt.gov.sg/data/doc/ManagePage/98/ePD2010/Appendix_C2.pdf
For Non-Contentious Mattershttp://www.supremecourt.gov.sg/data/doc/ManagePage/98/ePD2010/Appendix_C3.pdf
The “costs” referred to in a bill of costs are the legal and professional fees payable by a party. These include all court fees payable as well as the solicitor’s charges for his professional services. There are, broadly speaking, two main types of costs:
(a) Party-and-Party costs – These costs are the amounts that the losing party in an action is usually ordered to pay to the winning party. Party-and-Party costs are normally payable only when the court has made an order directing for such payment. Certain payable Party-and-Party costs are prescribed by legislation. In the absence of any applicable legislation, the court can either order the Party-and-Party costs in an action to be taxed, or it can fix those costs.
(b) Solicitor-and-Client costs – These costs are the amounts that a party has to pay his lawyer for legal services rendered. Solicitor-and-Client costs are usually governed by the agreement between the client and his lawyer.