|Noun||1.||costs - pecuniary reimbursement to the winning party for the expenses of litigation|
COSTS, practice. The expenses of a suit or action which may be recovered by
law from the losing party.
2. At common law, neither the plaintiff nor the defendant could recover costs eonomine; but in all actions in which damages were recoverable, the plaintiff, in effect, recovered his costs when he obtained a verdict, for the jury always computed them in the damages. When the defendant obtained a verdict, or the plaintiff became non-suit, the former was wholly without remedy for any expenses he had incurred. It is true, the plaintiff was amerced pro falso clamore suo, but the amercement was given to the king. Hull on Costs, 2 2 Arch. Pr. 281.
3. This defect was afterwards corrected by the statute of Gloucester, 6 Ed. I, c. 1, by which it is enacted that "the demandant in assise of novel disseisin, in writs of mort d'ancestor, cosinage, aiel and be sail, shall have damages. And the demandant shall have the costs of the writ purchased, together with damages, and this act shall hold place in all cases where the party recovers damages, and every person shall render damages where land is recovered against him upon his own intrusion, or his own act." About forty- six years after the passing of this statute, costs were for the first time allowed in France, by an ordinance of Charles le Bel, (January, 1324.) See Hardw. Cas. 356; 2 Inst. 283, 288 2 Loisel, Coutumes, 328-9.
4. The statute of Gloucester has been adopted, substantially, in all the United States. Though it speaks of the costs of the writ only, it has, by construction, been extended to the costs of the suit generally. The costs which are recovered under it are such as shall be allowed by the master or prothonotary upon taxation, and not those expenses which the. plaintiff may have. incurred for himself, or the extraordinary fees he may have paid counsel, or for the loss of his time. 2 Sell. Pr. 429.
5. Costs are single, when the party receives the same amount he has expended, to be ascertained by taxation; double, vide Double costs. and treble, vide Treble costs. Vide, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.; Hullock on Costs; Sayer's Law of Costs; Tidd's Pr. c. 40; 2 Sell. Pr. c. 19; Archb. Pr. Index, h.t.; Bac. Ab. h.t.; Com. Dig. h.t.; 6 Vin. Ab. 321; Grah. Pr. c. 23 Chit. Pr. h.t. 1 Salk. 207 1 Supp. to Ves. jr. 109; Amer. Dig. h.t.; Dane's Ab. h.t.; Harr. Dig. h.t. As to the liability of executors and administrators for costs, see 1, Chit. R. 628, note; 18 E. C. L. R. 185; 2 Bay's R. 166, 399; 1 Wash. R. 138; 2 Hen. & Munf. 361, 369; 4 John. R. 190; 8 John. R. 389; 2 John. Ca. 209. As to costs in actions qui tam, see Esp. on Pen. Act. 154 to 165.