Is a self represented litigant entitled to recover costs?

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self-represented-litigantIf you successfully represent yourself, the costs you can recover from the other party are strictly limited. The appellant in this case successfully represented herself. At the conclusion of the proceedings, she sought compensation for her time spent conducting the case on her own behalf.

The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia held that, as a self represented litigant, the appellant was not entitled to an order for costs on the basis of her time spent or earnings lost in the preparation or presentation of her case. Although the appellant was a qualified paralegal, the Court found it of no relevance that she conducted the clerical and paralegal work related to her case through her registered business “Litigation Services”.

A self represented litigant is normally entitled to out-of-pocket expenses actually, necessarily and reasonably incurred. An order was made in this case allowing the appellant to be compensated for any of these costs which she could establish she had incurred.

In summary, for self-represented litigants, any costs incurred in the course of litigation (other than reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket expenses) cannot be recovered.

This consideration should be at the forefront of any potential litigant’s mind when considering whether or not to seek the advice, assistance and representation of a legal practitioner.

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Categories: Legal Fees, Precedent, Self Representation, Self-repersented litigant
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