Your success in court is not determined by what you want, but by what you pursue

The wife sent a monthly maintenance fee of CZK 6,000 to her husband. She won the case and was therefore entitled to legal costs. You don’t even need to go into the details, especially when it comes to determining the amount of your lawyer’s fees, but the legal costs have been considerable on both sides, as you can imagine. undoubtedly doubt.

However, the Regional Court of Appeal ultimately concluded that the winner of the dispute was entitled to reimbursement of the procedural costs in the amount of 20%, taking into account that before the procedure the lady demanded 10,000 CZK per month to maintain his wife and received 6,000 CZK.

The lady had initially requested the amount of 10,000 CZK per month and had only indicated this information in her pre-litigation summons to her husband. In the lawsuit, she ultimately only demanded 6,000 CZK as part of the lawsuit. In the judgment, the court awarded him the required 6,000 CZK per month.

Only 60% success and 20% compensation, or 100% success and also 100% compensation of expenses?

According to the court, the winner of the dispute was therefore only 60% successful and is therefore entitled to reimbursement of 20% of the costs incurred in a timely manner. If she got “only” 60% of the required 10,000 CZK at the end, her success was 60%. However, at the same time, the defendant husband also got 40% success, because 40% of the amount was not awarded to the lady.

When comparing the success of the plaintiff’s wife and the defendant’s husband, the plaintiff’s success is 20%. The court calculated the compensation as a digital transaction of 60% minus 40% and the result is 20%. And, of course, the lady didn’t like it. It was really bad, as can be seen from our previous articles, in which we explain the calculation of legal costs.

How is the litigation winner’s reimbursement calculated?

The court awards the costs necessary to enforce the law (if the plaintiff and the action were successful) or to defend justice (if he was the defendant and the action was dismissed) against the party who won win. unsuccessful. (§ 142 para. 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure)

Whoever loses a lawsuit bears all the costs he has incurred to have it run – legal costs, track record to his lawyer, payment of expert opinions, etc., as well as the costs that the other party has had to bear.

If the participant has had only partial success in this, then (according to the provisions of § 142 al. 2 of the Civil Code) the court apportions the costs proportionately or declares that none of the participants is entitled to costs. The court distributes the costs proportionally, depending on the success and failure rate of the case: if the plaintiff demands, for example, 100,000 CZK from the defendant and he gets 70,000 CZK, then his success is 70 %, the defendant’s success is 30%.

The plaintiff will thus be granted a reimbursement of 40% of the costs of the proceedings, so that the defeated defendant will have to pay him, in addition to the amount determined by the court, also 40% of the legal costs. When the success rate is only 50% (plaintiffs only receive half of the 100,000 CZK out of the 100,000 CZK), there is no right to reimbursement of costs because the plaintiff and the defendant have both achieved a 50% success rate.

The Constitutional Court does not, in principle, address the issue of court costs and their compensation

The lady could not appeal to the Supreme Court, so she filed a simple constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court. And the Constitutional Court dealt with his constitutional complaint and did not reject it.

Although the Constitutional Court, in its judgment (File No. III. ÚS 2618/21, dated January 18, 2022) recalled that it does not deal with most similar cases: With regard to the merits of constitutional complaints against the costs of decisions of general courts, the Constitutional Court has always held in its case law that a dispute over costs may, although it may affect one of the parties, generally not reach an intensity justifying a violation of fundamental rights and freedoms. For the above reasons, the Constitutional Court approaches the proposals concerning the decision on the reimbursement of procedural costs and the determination of its amount in a very reserved manner.

You can ask for more in the beginning than you actually pursue

The grievance was based on the fact that the object of the trial is determined by the action and not by the pre-litigation reminder. Who would have thought otherwise? Nothing prevents you, as plaintiffs, from wanting more in the pre-litigation reminder in order to be able to settle on a lower amount within the framework of an amicable settlement. Or, if you don’t settle the case, after considering what the dispute would cost, they sued for less than you originally expected. After all, before filing the lawsuit, she also sent her husband a summons with a proposal for a friendly settlement of the case well in advance, namely 2 months.

The respondent husband thus had considerable time to reflect on his position, comment on the wife’s proposal and possibly propose a different amount of benefits. The husband was represented by a lawyer throughout the procedure and before the start of the procedure, so he had to be aware of the consequences of his inaction or negative attitude.

Total or partial success in litigation?

Thus, if the applicant asked her wife for alimony in the amount of CZK 6,000 per month and the husband accepted this amount during the proceedings, the applicant was fully successful in the main proceedings and is entitled reimbursement of procedural costs. (in accordance with the provisions of § 142 al. 1 os ø). And the Constitutional Court also accepted.

He considered that the regional court had used the costs of the proceedings in its decision (§ 142 al. 2 of the Civil Code)that if the disputing party is only partially successful, the court apportions the costs pro rata or declares that neither party is entitled to costs.

At the same time, the regional court relied on the fact that the lady in her pre-litigation petition originally demanded 10,000 CZK per month from her husband, she received 6,000 CZK per month in recognition, and therefore obtained 60% success (and 40%). With this mode of application (§ 142 al. 2 of the Civil Code) of course, the Constitutional Court disagreed.

In the end, wife, husband and court agreed on alimony, but not on reimbursement

After the court presented a preliminary legal opinion during the hearing that, given the husband’s financial situation, the wife’s request should be considered fully justified, the husband, after consulting his legal representative, acknowledged his wife’s request for 6,000 CZK, even though he initially only offered 4,000 CZK. .

However, the husband demanded that each party bear their own costs. Both sides paid a lot of money to the lawyers. However, the lady insisted on the reimbursement of the costs of the proceedings, so no legal settlement was reached, but it was decided by a judgment recognizing that the husband is obliged to contribute to his maintenance in the amount of 6,000 CZK per month and reimburse him for expenses.

The court of first instance assessed what it should not assess, so it miscalculated the reimbursement of legal costs

According to the Constitutional Court, the described course of the court proceedings cannot be interpreted otherwise than as the fact that the wife was fully successful in the case, since the request granted to her by the court fully corresponds to his claim affirmed by the action. Therefore, if the tribunal de grande instance declared that it was necessary to determine the amount of the costs appropriately incurred according to the report of success and failure of its pre-litigation request, its conclusions are erroneous, because the success or failure of ‘A case should always be measured against the claim, not the claim prior to the claim.

Ust. Thus, the court could apply § 142 para. However, this was not so, because the lady was fully successful in this matter. In such a situation, it was necessary to proceed in accordance with the provisions of § 142 paragraph 1 os r.

The plaintiff’s wife should therefore be compensated for the costs appropriately incurred, the Constitutional Court ruled.

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