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Wasted costs

Wasted costs are litigation costs which must be paid personally by a lawyer (solicitor or barrister) where a judge considers that that lawyer has wasted another parties’ or the lawyer’s own client’s costs.

Though in practice it will normally be paid by the lawyers’ insurers, it amounts to a penalty imposed by the court to mark its disapproval of the unreasonable or negligent way that lawyer has conducted a case. For example, a judge may think a case has been taken on and run where the lawyer should not have done so, or where the lawyer should have told the client the case must be stopped.

Wasted costs are not to be confused with costs thrown away, which describe specific costs incurred in relation to a judgment or order which is later set aside, and which the successful party is entitled to be repaid: see CPR PD 44 para 4.2.