Office of the Taxing Master
The Taxing Master provides an independent and impartial assessment of legal costs incurred by an individual or company involved in litigation ("taxation of costs"). This means, that they assess the fair and reasonable amount that one party has to pay to the other side. There are currently 2 Taxing Masters in Ireland, both of whom are based in Dublin. (See 'Where to apply').
Usually, costs are taxed at the end/conclusion of a case, but this doesn't always happen. Sometimes, a Court may award costs in respect of certain applications prior to the final conclusion of the case. The party that is claiming the costs (usually, the successful plaintiff or defendant) must demonstrate that the costs they are claiming were proper and reasonable, given the circumstances. There are two main types of costs:
- Party and Party Costs
- Solicitor and Client Costs
Party and Party Costs: These are essentially all the costs, charges and expenses that are reasonably incurred by one of the parties in the action, for the purposes of the case. It's important to remember that all the costs may not be allowable and if you are claiming these costs, you must be able to justify why they were incurred and why those costs should be allowed. The courts have held in the past that you are bound when conducting your case to remember that your adversary may in the end have to pay your costs (or you may have to pay theirs) so it pays to be mindful of costs at all times.
Solicitor and Client Costs: These are the costs you are obliged to pay your solicitor or legal representative that are not recoverable under Party and Party Costs.
Charges to clients
The Solicitors (Amendment) Act, 1994 (Section 68) provides for solicitors to charge their clients. Under this legislation, your solicitor should give you a detailed statement of all the legal costs associated with your case. The statement of costs you receive, must contain certain things:
- Summary of the legal services you were provided with
- Details of all the charges that were incurred the the nature of these charges
- Total amount (value) of damages you received, or other money that was recovered
This detailed statement of charges and costs is known as a Bill of Costs.
Taxation of costs
The 'taxation of costs' is a misleading term, in that it has nothing to do with taxation in the normal sense or with the Revenue Commissioners. Taxation of costs from an action/case arise in a number of different situations (for example, when ordered by the court, when demanded by a client, when ordered by a tribunal, as a result of an arbitration hearing, etc.).
The Taxing Master does not have any regulatory or investigative powers in relation to complaints about excessive charges by solicitors in Ireland for legal services. Complaints about excessive charges should be referred to the Law Society of Ireland.
How to apply
If you wish to have your costs subject to taxation, you should instruct your solicitor to forward a special form (called a 'Requisition to Tax' form) to you , so that the Bill of Costs can be subject to taxation. When you receive this form, you sign and return it to your solicitor who will then set the matter down for taxation. You will then be notified by your solicitor of the date of the taxation and you should attend the hearing. It's important to remember that you have the option of retaining a legal representative for the taxation hearing.
If your solicitor refuses to set the matter down for taxation, you can set the matter down yourself by completing and lodging the Requisition to Tax form, lodging a Summons to Tax/Notice to Tax (in triplicate form) and lodging the Bill of Costs with the Office of the Taxing Master. (You can purchase the Requisition of Taxes form and the Summons form in any legal stationers).
The Office of the Taxing Master will then inform you when you should be in attendance for the hearing.
Where to apply
Further information about taxation hearings and the taxation of costs process is available from the website of the Courts Service.
Apply to the Taxing Masters' Office at