Who must pay the costs of a lawsuit?

Who must pay the costs of a lawsuit?

All legal proceedings entail a series of expenses. On the one hand, we must talk about the procedural expenses, which are those directly and immediately related to the judicial proceeding. On the other hand, the legal costs. We would like to focus this article on them.

What are the costs of a lawsuit?

Court costs are the expenses necessary for a trial to be held. They cover from the beginning of the procedure until it is finished. They are included in article 241 of the Civil Procedure Law. They are as follows:

  1. The fees of lawyers and attorneys when it is necessary for them to intervene.
  2. The fees of the judicial experts.
  3. The cost of inserting edicts or obligatory announcements during the procedure.
  4. The tariff rights that, for the implementation of necessary actions, must be paid during the development of the process.
  5. Whenever it is mandatory, the jurisdictional authority fee.
  6. All documents that must be requested in accordance with the legislation in force (certifications, notes, testimonies, official copies…). The only exception is the public protocols and registers requested by the court.

Who pays the costs of a lawsuit?


The answer to who pays the costs of a civil trial is answered in Article 241.1 of the Civil Procedure Law. Specifically, it establishes that each party will pay the costs that correspond to it whenever they are caused at its request. With the exception, as we will see below, of a sentence in costs, that is to say, that the sentence obliges the party that has had its claims rejected to pay these costs to the party that has had its claims upheld.

The award of costs

In order for the winning party to be able to claim the payment of the costs of a trial from the losing party, it is necessary that the judgment explicitly allows it. If it does not do so, or if it contains phrases such as “each party shall pay the costs generated by its own instance” or “without making a special pronouncement on costs”, each party must pay its own costs.

Nor should we forget that, if the losing party is a beneficiary of legal aid, it cannot be claimed its payment. This is common in certain cases such as, for example, when answering the question of who pays the costs of an eviction trial.

In any case, if we take for granted that the judgment condemns the losing party to pay the costs of the legal proceedings, we have to resort to article 394 of the Civil Procedure Law. It establishes that the procedure necessary to request payment begins with the appraisal of costs.

It should be noted that, when the judge has doubts according to law or does not fully agree with the winning party, he never awards costs. Let us give an example. If a gentleman claims to another one 10 000 € for any reason but finally the judge only condemns the losing party to pay 7000 €, he will never make him pay this type of expenses.

How much is paid in legal costs?

It is practically impossible to determine. According to official data, the European Union estimates that, on average, a trial entails an average cost of 3000 €. However, these can be much higher depending on how long it takes. That is the reason why, before starting the procedure, many people wonder how to know if I am going to win a trial. Unfortunately, while there may be greater or lesser odds, that question cannot be answered with certainty either.

What happens if I don’t pay the costs of a trial?

We already know, if only approximately, how much the costs of a trial are. Now it is time to learn how the payment is made. Specifically, the winning party has to claim the payment of the amount by means of the appraisal of costs, after which the losing party has the obligation to make the payment within a maximum period of 20 working days.

The problem is that, sometimes, the losing party does not want to pay the costs of an oral trial. Or simply does not have the financial resources to do so. In this case, the winning party may initiate the procedure for the execution of the judgment, which will entail the seizure of its assets. That is, provided that he cannot avail himself of any of the exceptions provided by law.

A note before finishing. Many people have doubts as to who pays the costs of a misdemeanor trial. However, in this type of proceedings it is not mandatory to have a lawyer and a solicitor. Therefore, even if both parties appear with them, it will not be possible to claim these types of costs from either party once the judgment is issued.

In short, the costs of a trial cover all the expenses derived from the proceedings. In some cases, the judge may force the losing party to bear them.

If you are going through a similar situation and need advice, we recommend going to a criminal lawyer who will explain any doubts in detail.  We hope we have made it clear in this article in which cases this can happen and how to enforce them if necessary.

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