Subjects: Taxation of costs

When a cause reached its conclusion through the court the winning party could claim their costs.

A bill of costs would then be drawn up for review by the court. Some of the costs comprised fixed fees, such as those paid to the court for hearings and decrees. Others were variable, notably the witnesses’ expenses in attending court to give evidence. No doubt then, as now, there was skill involved in drawing up a bill of costs.

The bill would then be referred to the court for ‘taxation’, which was the process whereby the judge decided the amount which he considered reasonable. 

A list of fees recepi et solvi consueta (accustomed to be received and paid) by proctors in the Chester Consistory Court as agreed by the bishop in 1583 is held by Cheshire Archives and Local Studies. The list was signed by four proctors and is thought to date from about 1660-1670. The four signed to confirm that ‘The Fees above written wee take and Claime, And wee nether take, nor Claime any other, or greater fees, sumes of moneys, or gratuities, then is aboue exprested.’ Thus the proctors saw no increase in their fees for the best part of a century.




EDC 5/1575/5 – Margaret Harper contra Margery Radcliffe.

Immorality – acknowledgement of illegitimate child

EDC 5/1580/5 – James Banester contra Ellen Urmeston.
The judgement included a provision that the costs should be taxed with the greatest moderation.