Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Costs Follow The Event Definition:

An award of costs will generally flow with the result of litigation; the successful party being entitled to an order for costs against the unsuccessful party.

Related Terms: Costs, Costs in the Cause

A general principle of the law of costs that a party who is substantially successful in litigation is entitled to costs.

It is a principle only, as in costs, barring a statute to the contrary, the determination is a matter of judicial discretion.

In Lee v. Horne, the judge wrote:

"The general rule is that costs follow the event and while a court may depart from this rule, any departure is usually in the way of depriving a successful party of costs and not of awarding costs to an unsuccessful party."

Some jurisdictions have codified the rule as to entitlement to costs, by providing, in statute, that costs follow the event. More specifically, as set out in the Alberta Rules of Court:

"When no order is made, the costs follow the event...."


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