A recent interim application to the Master of the Irish High Court in Walsh v Kearney & Ors [2007] has shown how defendants in Irish litigation can bring pressure to bear on plaintiffs and have costs quantified immediately where a costs order is secured.  

Key issues:

  • The Master of the Irish High Court has jurisdiction over many interim applications that arise in litigation. Interim applications are often necessary to maintain pressure on parties to litigation to comply with timelines.  
  • Pursuant to Order 63 rule 6 of the Rules of the Superior Courts, the Master has jurisdiction to direct payment of costs, thereby avoiding the time and costs of taxation.  
  • The measuring of costs in applications before the Master is entirely within the Master’s discretion. It is irrelevant whether the responding party consents.  
  • The usual order granting costs provides that the amount of costs is taxed by the Taxing Master in default of agreement. This adds another layer of costs to the proceedings. Having costs quantified immediately upon making the order means that the cost of taxation (of those particular costs) is avoided.  
  • Apart from avoiding the costs of taxation, the primary advantage of having costs quantified is that a defined sum can be executed immediately. Payment of the quantified costs can be sought immediately as a liquidated sum.  
  • The gain from a successful application to the Master for costs to be quantified will not always be immediate in circumstances where the opposing party can request a stay on execution of the costs to the determination of the proceedings. If a stay is granted, it means that the costs cannot be recovered until the determination of the case. However, any amount of costs already quantified will not form part of any subsequent taxation of the costs of the proceedings.  
  • Therefore, “instant quantification” is a useful tool in maintaining pressure on plaintiffs, particularly if claims are progressed slowly.