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Over 150 years ago party and party costs were defined by the court (in Harold v Smith
 5 H & N) as being given by the law as an indemnity to the person entitled
to them and not intended to be a punishment on the party who pays the costs. Neither
are they intended to be a bonus to the party who receives the costs. This is still
broadly true today.
N.B. Significant changes to the legal costs regime in England and Wales came into
effect on 1st April 2013. Pages on this site do not yet reflect the changes unless
specifically stated. Join the discussion here.