1.By a consent order recorded on April 14, 2023 the parties agreed to have the letter dated July 29, 2022 by which the 1st Respondent had deployed the Claimant to a new department recalled and cancelled. The parties asked the court to determine the question of costs of the proceedings.
2.The Claimant takes the view that it is the Respondents’ actions that triggered the suit. She argues that she incurred expense in prosecuting the suit. Therefore, she is entitled to recover costs from the party whose conduct necessitated the action.
3.On their part, the Respondents argue that since the matter was compromised by consent of the parties, each party should bear his or her own costs. According to the Respondents, the fact that the parties agreed to record a consent settling the dispute underscores the reality that neither of them can be described as ‘’the successful party’’.In the premises, the court cannot invoke the dictum that costs follow the event to order costs in favour of the Claimant.
5.As correctly observed by both parties, the question whether costs ought to be awarded in a suitand by whom such costs, if granted, should be paid is usually left to the court’s discretion. Indeed, this is the effectof section 27 of the Civil Procedure Act.
6.The fact that the court has power to determine whether and by whom costs should be paid does not grant it the power to decide on the issue arbitrarily. The court is required to be guided by the generally settled principles on the matter.
7.One of these principles is that costs ordinarily follow the event. Except for good reasons, costs of a suit ought to be granted to the successful party.The court has no right to whimsically deprive the successful party of the costs of the action. Refusal to grant the successful party costs must beonly for cogent reasons.
9.I have considered the Claimant’s prayer for costs with the foregoing principles in mind. I note that the reason why the Claimant filed this action was to resist her deployment to a new department which was communicated through the 1st Respondent’s letter dated July 29, 2022. It was the Claimant’s contention that the said deployment was irregular.
10.The record shows that alongside the Memorandum of Claim, the Claimant filed an application for interim orders to restrain the Respondents from implementing their decision. She was successful on the said application and was granted costs.
11.Subsequent to the foregoing, the parties entered into discussions on the matter. It would appear that the said discussions yielded an agreement that saw the 1st Respondent cancel the impugned decision to deploy the Claimant.
12.To my mind, the effect of the settlement was that the Claimant became the successful party. She had moved to court to challenge her deployment to a new department which the Respondents eventually agreed to reverse.
13.Following the principle that costs follow the event, it is my humble view that the costs in this cause are due to the Claimant being the successful party in the action. Absent cogent reasons why I should deny her an order for costs, I am duty bound to grant the Claimant costs of the action.
14.In any event, the record shows that I had granted the Claimant costs of the application for interim orders. Therefore, to issue a subsequent order disentitling her to costs generally would be tantamount to reversing my earlier order on costs in her favour, albeit for the application. With respect, I do not think that it is proper to do so without an application for review put before me.
15.The upshot is that I grant the Claimant costs of the action.